And we are not talking chamomile tea, here, but a noxious weed that’s infested the new islands of North Idaho’s Clark Fork Delta.
Kate Walker, of Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, is on a quest to eradicate the weed, which competes with the native grasses and forbs that were planted as part of the recent restoration project in the delta.
It’s a mystery how stinking chamomile (Anthemis cotula is the Latin name) got established on the new islands that were built during the winter of 2015 and planted that spring. Walker had the seed mix tested, and none of the offending seeds were found.
The intended seed mix has done its job well: native grasses, lupine, yarrow and pearly everlasting appear abundant and healthy, while willows, dogwood, larch and ponderosa pine have also taken hold.
But that stinking chamomile is also abundant-too abundant. So Walker has scheduled multiple volunteer days to pull it. It’s not a bad volunteer gig-I did it on Thursday, July 21. We took a scenic boat ride to the island, and spent the morning chatting and pulling weeds, stuffing them into garbage bags, all while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
While the weed is called “stinking,” the smell is actually rather pleasant, as is the appearance of the daisy-like flower. The oil on the weed can irritate your skin, however, so long pants, sleeves and gloves are recommended-though I couldn’t help but notice I was the only one with long sleeves.
It’s easy to sign up to help. Just visit the Clark Fork Delta project volunteer page and sign up online. Join the Delta Force of volunteers who are helping to reestablish essential habitat for wildlife and waterfowl.