Page 1

Protecting Wildlife Habitat Sportsman’s Guide to Noxious Weeds


Cover photo: Mark Gocke Š2010 Missouri River Watershed Coalition and the Center for Invasive Plant Management. Department Land Resources and Environmental Science. Montana State University. We encourage the use of this document for non-profit educational purposes. This document may be reprinted if no endorsement of a commercial product is stated or implied. For an electronic copy please visit www.weedcenter.org/mrwc/index.html or www.weedcenter.org/store. 


Plant Invasions of Wildlife Habitat

Photo: Amy Jerup

“We can’t fight this alone. It takes everybody, working together state and federal agencies, ranchers, conservations groups. We need everybody.” Jim Olivarez, Retired, US Forest Service Northern Region Weed Program Manager

What All Sportsmen Should Know About Noxious Weeds • • • •

They They They They

significantly reduce desirable forage alter thermal and escape cover change water flow and availability to wildlife reduce vegetation biodiversity necessary for wildlife survival

Noxious weeds currently infest about 100 million acres of North America. They continue to spread into more than three million acres each year, invading an estimated six square miles of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands every day. They have already claimed seven million acres of National Park Service land. When noxious weeds invade elk country, they eliminate a diversity of grasses and forbs that elk and other wildlife depend on as a food source. Deteriorating habitat also threatens the livelihoods of ranchers and farmers and the private land that sustains cattle and, quite often, wintering elk herds.

Spotted knapweed. Photo: Amy Jerup.


Historically, Hunters are an Important Part of Protecting Habitats These men and others were instrumental in the development of the wildlife habitat and conservation systems we have in the U.S. today. Sportsmen have been a driving force behind conservation issues for over a century, urging lawmakers to incorporate the ideals of fair chase habitat preservation and wildlife conservation into state and national legislation. Wildlife habitat is now under increasing attack from invasive species. You, as a sportsman, are being asked once again to help save the day.

Photo: Aldo Leopold Foundation, www.aldoeopold.org

Photo: www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com

Photo: Library of Congress, www.loc.gov

From top left (counterclockwise): Aldo Leopold: ecologist, conservationist, and hunter; S.N. Leek: conservationist and hunter who restored the Jackson Hole Elk Herd; Theodore Roosevelt: President, conservationist, and hunter who championed Yellowstone National Park.

Quick Facts • Invasive species, both plants and animals combined, are the second leading cause of animal decline and extinction worldwide! • Noxious weeds are plants that often come from other continents and, because of their aggressive nature and lack of natural “controls,” cause major wildlife habitat destruction in North America. • Areas dominated by leafy spurge receive three times less use by deer when compared to similar uninfested areas. • On native bunchgrass sites in Montana, dense spotted knapweed infestations reduce available winter forage for elk by 50 to 90 percent. Elk use increased almost four-fold after spotted knapweed was controlled on these sites. • In wetland areas, invasions of purple loosestrife and saltcedar degrade habitat by limiting human and wildlife access, exasperating drought and modifying natural water cycles.

Leafy spurge infestation. Photo by: Amy Jerup.


Photo by: Amy Jerup

How Weeds Spread

Weeds are spread in many ways, including: soil on vehicles; seeds on clothing, shoes, and animals; contaminated crop seed or hay; and transport of live plants. If you find seeds attached to your clothing or shoes, remove them in the infested area or dispose of them in the trash.

What You Can Do 1. Learn to identify noxious weeds. Note the location of the infestation and, if you have a GPS device, record the coordinates. Better yet, use the fast and easy Missouri River Watershed Coalition Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System or “EDDMapS” to instantly report your sighting. Gathering the information is as simple as taking pictures of the invasive plant and noting the location. Simply visit www.eddmaps.org/mrwc for access. It only takes a few minutes! If you find a suspicious plant, collect it in a plastic bag or plant press and bring it to your local weed control office. 2. When recreating, do not camp in, drive, walk, or ride through weed infested areas! 3. Inspect and clean your vehicles, clothing, camping gear, livestock, and pets before your trip and again before you return home. 4. Use only certified weed seed free forage products. They are available at your local feed store or through Department of Agriculture websites. 5. Do not pick or transport any unknown flowers for enjoyment, they may be weeds disguised as pretty flowers.

The Bottom Line “The environment, the ecosystem, are losing habitat for wildlife and livestock. And the weed invasion doubles every 10 years. You can try cutting it, burning it and spraying it. But unless you have an integral program, you can’t stop it. If you’re hunting in your favorite spot and you see a noxious weed, let us know. It will help. The biggest bang for our dollar is in prevention. Once weeds get out of control, they are difficult and expensive to contain.” Roger Andrascick, National Park Service Resource Management Specialist

Photo: Mark Gocke

A skilled young hunter after a successful grouse hunt in a healthy habitat.

“People need to be knowledgeable and aware of what the problem plants are, and let us know when they spot these plants.” Jim Olivarez, Retired, US Forest Service Northern Region Weed Program Manager Introduction and conclusion taken from An Exotic Invasion of Elk Country Weeds by David Stalling.


Weed Identification 101 leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) • • • • •

Perennial; creeping root system Narrow leaves Yellowish-green flowers with heart shaped bracts Milky sap seeps from all parts of the plant when broken Sap is a skin irritant

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Jim Gores

Photo: Jim Gores

spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) • • • •

Biennial; taproot sytem Deeply-lobed leaves Single, purple flowers at the end of each branch Flower head has black tipped bracts

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Adrianne Peterson

Photo: Adrianne Peterson


diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa) • Biennial, or short-lived perennial with a taproot system • Rosette leaves are divided, stem leaves are entire and smaller • White to rose flowers appear in mid-summer to fall • Bracts are yellowish and spiny with teeth Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Photo: Amy Amy Jerup Jerup

Photo: Amy Jerup

Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens)

• Perennial; creeping root system • Roots have black coating and can grow up to 23 feet long • Deeply-lobed lower leaves and entire upper leaves • Pink to purple single flower per stem Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Julie Kraft

Photo: Julie Kraft


oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) • Perennial; creeping root system • Lobed leaves along stem system reduce in size going up the stem • Solitary white flower with yellow center per stem • Displaces native forage Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Photo:Amy AmyJerup Jerup

Photo: Julie Kraft

houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale) • • • • •

Biennial; taproot system Large, alternate hairy leaves Reddish-purple flower heads Corn kernel shaped, velcro-like seeds Toxic to livestock and wildlife

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Julie Kraft

Photo: North Dakota Department of Agriculture


yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) • • • •

Perennial; creeping root system Narrow leaves are pointed at both ends Snapdragon-like flower with an orange throat Rapidly displaces native grasses in rangelands

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: Julie Kraft

Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria genistifolia) • • • •

Perennial; creeping root system Blue-green, waxy, clasping leaves Yellow snapdragon-like flowers Rapidly displaces native plants

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: Amy Jerup


saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) • • • •

Woody shrub reaches 20 feet tall Feathery-green, cedar-like leaves turn yellow in the fall Red branches Pink to white, five-petaled flowers

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Julie Kraft

Photo: Julie Kraft

perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) • • • •

Perennial; creeping root system Grows six to eight feet tall Spear-head shaped, gray-green leaves Clusters of small white flowers bloom in June

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: Julie Kraft


purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) • • • • •

Perennial; creeping root system Grows six to eight feet tall Leaves are simple and whorled or opposite on the stem Rose-purple flower with five to seven petals Invades aquatic sites

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Dyer’s woad (Isatis tinctoria) • Winter annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial; taproot system • Leaves are bluish-green with a white mid-vein • Small yellow flowers clustered at top of stem • Fruit pods turn purplish-brown and hang beneath the flowers Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: Adrianne Peterson


common burdock (Arctium minus) • Biennial; taproot system • Rhubarb-like leaves in the first year • Grows three to 10 feet tall in the second year • Large purple flower clusters with many hooked spines Weed GPS/Location

Photo: South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Photo: South Dakota Department of Agriculture

absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) • Perennial; strong sage scent • Grows three to five feet tall • Leaves are covered with fine silky hairs, giving the plant a grayish look • Flower stalks produce numerous flower heads • Will taint the milk of cattle Weed GPS/Location

Photo: South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Photo: South Dakota Department of Agriculture


musk thistle (Carduus nutans) • Biennial; taproot system • Grows three to seven feet tall • Dark green leaves have silver edges and midveine with spine • Single, deep rose-purple, nodding flower heads Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Julie Kraft

Photo: North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium) • • • • •

Biennial; taproot system Grows up to 12 feet tall Grayish, hairy, large leaves Stems have spine-tipped wings or ridges Numerous violet to red flower heads

Weed GPS/Location

Photo: Amy Jerup

Photo: Julie Kraft


Noxious Weed Crossword Across 1. All parts of this noxious weed contain a milky sap (2 words) 4. This knapweed has spiny bracts and white flowers 10. These are the second leading cause of extinction worldwide (2 words) 12. This knapweed has black-tipped bracts 13. A noxious weed with spearhead shaped leaves is called perennial ___ 14. This thistle has spine-tipped wings on the stem Down 2. This knapweed is a perennial that spreads by creeping roots 3. The white flower with a yellow center gave this noxious weed its name (2 words) 4. The leaves of this type of toadflax clasp the stems 5. This noxious weed has large flowers that look like they are “nodding� (2 words) 6. This noxious weed is a shrub with red branches 7. This noxious weed has velcro-like seeds that stick to clothing and pets 8. This kind of weed competes with native plants and reduces diversity 9. Forester, ecologist, conservationist, and hunter Aldo ___ 11. A noxious weed with rhubarb-like leaves is called common ___ 12. If you walk or drive through noxious weed patches you can spread these


PROTECT TREES, FORESTS & WILDLIFE HABITAT

The transportation of forest insects and diseases on firewood is destroying trees in prime hunting, fishing, and recreation areas. Exotic insects and diseases are a major threat to trees, forests, and wildlife habitat.

.org

Tree-killing species like emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle can’t move far on their own, but they can jump hundreds of miles when people move firewood. To protect our natural resources: • Do not bring firewood with you when you travel • Burn locally cut firewood • Encourage fellow outdoorsmen not to move firewood

If you have already brought firewood from out of state, please burn it completely. Do not leave it. Do not take it home with you.

Noxious Weed Crossword Puzzle Key


Liz Galli-Noble

Steve Ryder

Dave Burch

Ron Moehring

Mitch Coffin

Slade Franklin

Rachel Seifert-Spilde

Amanda Priestley

Director Center for Invasive Plant Management Montana State University, Dept. LRES Bozeman, MT (406) 994-6832 elizabeth.gallinoble@montana.edu

State Weed Coordinator Montana Department of Agriculture Helena, MT (406) 444-3140 dburch@mt.gov

State Weed Coordinator Nebraska Department of Agriculture Lincoln, NE (402) 471-6844 mitch.coffin@nebraska.gov

Noxious Weed Specialist North Dakota Department of Agriculture Bismarck, ND (701) 328-2983 rseifert@nd.govz

State Weed Coordinator Colorado Department of Agriculture Lakewood, CO (303) 828-8329 steve.ryder@ag.state.co.us

State Weed Coordinator South Dakota Department of Agriculture Pierre, SD (605) 773-3796 ron.moehring@state.sd.us

State Weed Coordinator Wyoming Department of Agriculture Cheyenne, WY (307) 777-6585 sfrank@state.wy.us

State Survey Coordinator Wyoming CAPS Program WY Report-A-Pest (307) 766-5278 caps@uwyo.edu http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/capsweb

Report a sighting of an invasive plant! Simply visit http://www.eddmaps.org/mrwc/ for access to the Missouri River Watershed Coalition EDDMapS. It only takes a few minutes.

Protecting Wildlife Habitat: Sportsman's Guide to Noxious Weeds  

Copyright 2011. Center for Invasive Species Management, Montana State University. Produced by the Center for Invasive Species Management an...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you