Yosemite Valley Non-Historic Non-Native Fruit Trees Removal
None of the trees have historic value and therefore do not contribute to the park's historic resources. None of the trees are native and therefore do not contribute to the park's natural resources. The trees likely came from seeds, root suckers, or fruits discarded by visitors and potentially transported by wildlife (Yosemite Orchard Management Plan, 2011). The trees are on roadsides near developments and cause a myriad of problems when they are fruiting and attractive to native wildlife (Graber 1982, Greenleaf et al. 2009). For example, native wildlife feeding from these trees comes into proximity to humans and can then become habituated to human presence, a change in their ecology that often leads to food-conditioning (Matthews 2006, Mazur et al. 2013). In turn, the food-conditioning can be passed on to their young through social learning (Mazur and Seher 2008). Also, when native wildlife cross crowded roads to access the trees, the risk of vehicle-wildlife collisions increases. Further, visitors traveling along crowded roads stop to watch the wildlife in the trees, thus causing traffic blockage. Secondary problems include food-conditioned wildlife approaching humans and the use of water by these non-historic, non-native trees within protected meadows.
The trees included are shown on the map attached:
1. The plum tree across from the chapel.
2. The plum saplings across from the chapel.
3. Three plum trees along the access road to the Curry Orchard that are less than 70 years old.
4. The plum and apple trees at the north edge of Curry Orchard (across the road from the Lower Pines Campground) that are less than 70 years old (park forester will verify the age of these trees using non-lethal short-core sampling to extrapolate age before cutting).
5. The fruit tree at Lower Pines site #70 (park forester will verify the age of these trees using non-lethal short-core sampling to extrapolate age before cutting).
6. The plum saplings and one adult plum at the south-western edge of the Lower Pines Campground past VIP site #88 (facing the Curry Orchard).
7. The two apple trees and one plum tree at the north end of the boardwalk that comes from Curry and ends up adjacent to the Lower Pines Campground.
8. The little apple tree in Ahwahnee Meadow.
9. The three trees across from Ahwahnee Meadow near the trail (park forester will verify the age of these trees using non-lethal short-core sampling to extrapolate age before cutting).
This project includes the removal of less than twenty non-historic, non-native fruit trees from Yosemite Valley. The Yosemite forestry crew will cut the (mostly small) trees as time allows either before the nesting season for migratory birds (mid-May), or in conjunction with a nest survey by a qualified biologist. After the trees are cut, they will be taken to the burn pile for disposal. To ensure they do not re-sprout, the invasive plant crew will dab them with herbicides (as provisioned under the Invasive Plant Management Plan EA, 2010), and include a cut stump treatment involving a certified applicator directly applying Garlon 4 (25% concentration) and surfactant (75% concentration) to the cut surface and sides of the stump within 15 minutes of cutting the tree. In some cases, the ages of the trees need to be verified. In those cases, the park Forester will take a short core sample (non-lethal method) of recent growth ring width and diameter, and extrapolate age before cutting them, as was approved by the park historic landscape architect during a field visit in January, 2015.