Attacking an invasive species

Policeman's helmet growing along the Necanicum River, below Tillamook Head.

It’s year two of the collaborative assault on the weed known as policeman’s helmet in the Necanicum River watershed, and volunteers are being sought for a day of weeding at Circle Creek Conservation Center in Seaside Wednesday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Policeman’s helmet (Impatiens glandulifera), a highly invasive non-native plant, has taken hold throughout the Necanicum River watershed, choking out native plants and reducing plant and animal diversity while increasing the risk of stream-bank erosion. North Coast Land Conservancy and the Necanicum Watershed Council are working together to try to rid the watershed of this invader. Four summer stewardship interns have been hired to pull policeman’s helmet for two months this summer, and volunteers will be helping them on June 13 and again on July 21. The plant is easy to pull; the next step is to pile uprooted plants and stomp on them to crush the stems and prevent the seed pods from developing or maturing. Get details on the June 13 stewardship day at NCLCtrust.org/pull-policemans-helmet.

Public engagement is key to getting rid of this weed. Wherever you live in Clatsop or Tillamook counties, keep an eye out for policeman’s helmet on your property. As soon as you see it, pull, pile, and stomp the plants so they can’t reproduce. Visit NCLCtrust.org/pull-pile-stomp for more details and to report suspected sightings of the plant.

Policeman’s helmet is named for the shape of the blossom, which resembles an old-fashioned British policeman’s headwear. It is native to the Himalayas and was introduced in North America as an ornamental garden plant but has since spread widely.

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