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2012 Annual Report


Look for information and resources around the county at local festivals, trainings or markets near you about upcoming trainings, products or awareness from friendly Weed District staff. • • Healthy Acres Newsletter • Downtown Banners • Clark Fork Market booth • Bio control releases • Western MT Fair

Healthy Acres Newsletter

Clark Fork

Market Bo


Downtown Banners

Missoula Weed district partners • Blackfoot Challenge • Swan Ecosystem Center • Clearwater Resource Council • US Forest Service • Powell County Weed District • Ravalli County Weed District • MWCA • MEEA • Montana Natural History Center • NRIPC • Natural Resource Education Group – whatever you named it • MSU Extension • Bureau of Land Management – Missoula • Ninemile Ranger District • Lolo Ranger District

• Seeley Lake Ranger District • City of Missoula – Conservation Lands • University of Montana – Natural Areas • Allied Waste • MPG Ranch • Five Valleys Land Trust • Missoula Conservation District • NRCS • Missoula County Parks • Working Dogs for Conservation • Clark Fork Coalition • UM School of Forestry • MT Fish Wildlife and Parks • MT Department of Natural Resources • US Fish and Wildlife Service-PRISM • Missoula County Community and Planning

Partnerships in Land Management In early 2009 the U.S. congress established the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). The intent of CFLRP is to facilitate collaborative science-based ecosystem restoration on priority federal forest landscapes. In western Montana, a joint effort between local organizations, agencies, and communities submitted a proposal to this program to conduct restoration work in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent (see map for area details). The proposal was funded in 2010 and work began for the Southwestern Crown of the Continent – Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (SWCC-CFLRP). From 2010

– present, restoration projects have been implemented across the SWCC and a collaborative process has been developed between partners. In order to learn from the work being conducted, SWCC-CFLRP participants decided to allocate ten percent of program funding toward project monitoring. Aquatic, socio-economic, vegetation, and wildlife working groups were developed to ensure accurate monitoring of these key project attributes. Ashley Juran, the current Weed Prevention Coordinator for the Missoula County Weed District, previously coordinated SWCC-CFLRP monitoring projects for the University of Montana’s Restoration Ecology lab. A large portion of the SWCC-CFLRP is encompassed by Missoula County. While working for the Weed District, Ashley will remain involved with the SWCC-CFLRP as the vegetation working group chair. This will allow Ashley to build upon her working relationships with organizations and agencies engaged in restoration and management of resources in Missoula County.

adult education The weed district works to educate Missoula County residents to promote healthy, productive vegetation, and to control noxious weeds by cultivating their interest in the ecological and economic impacts of noxious weeds. Healthy Acres Seminar: A Landowner Workshop provides a forum for landowners to meet their neighbors and learn about the land management issues that most affect the health of their land, communities and watersheds. The goal of Healthy Acres is to provide resources and training on management issues in natural resources. The various watersheds of Missoula County face different issues regarding land management and the Healthy Acres Seminar addresses them by inviting “experts” to teach on topics such as; fencing, living with wildlife, horse and pasture management, water rights, invasive species, water quality and forest health. We hope to raise residents’ awareness of these issues and create community leaders that will become active participants and advocates for the health and well-being of their land and communities. By first increasing residents’ knowledge of the land management issues that most affect them, followed with providing them with the opportunity to talk with their neighbors about healthy land management, the Missoula County Weed District believes the presence of invasive species will improve. The Healthy Acres Seminar is entering its fifth year of providing land management resources to Missoula County residents.

Youth Education 2012

The weed district educates Missoula County’s youth on native and non-native vegetation and the ecology behind the maintaining healthy plant communities and the effects noxious weed invasions have on them. Leave No Weeds For 12 years the Missoula County Weed District has taught the Leave No Weeds program to area 5th grade students, free of cost, to all participating schools; offering students the opportunity to get out of the classroom and learn about the importance of native plant communities and the issues surrounding the invasion of noxious weeds. This inquiry based program guides students through the concepts of noxious weeds versus garden-variety “weeds”, native plants and introduced plant species, how introduced species got here and finally what they can do about these Invasive species through integrated plant management. Leave No Weeds get kids outside to experience the natural treasures Western Montana has to offer. Students identify what a healthy plant community looks like through identifying native plants by touching, smelling and observing them in their natural setting. A majority of students are able to identify 20-30 native plant species. Students are given gloves

Private Applicator Training: this two day training licensed over 25 new private applicators on how to safely and effectively treat their property with herbicides as well as educated them on the importance of an integrated approach to vegetation management that includes the principles of IPM. MSU Forestry Extension – Forestry mini college attracted over 40 participants for a 90 minute presentation focusing on creating a management plan that works towards the goals of their land. Building Bridges Revegetation Workshop – and Tour: 45 Missoula County residents and landowners came together to discuss four revegetation sites in the Missoula, Mission and Jocko Valleys covering a wide array of weed species, disturbances and revegetation objectives. Living near Streams: The weed district partnered with the Clark Fork Coalition to provide real estate professionals with tools and resources that help them understand the opportunities and responsibilities associated with waterfront property, and provide that information to waterfront property owners. Bio-control Collection and Distribution: Participants are provided a hands-on educational program on the process involved in monitoring and collecting bio-control to be released on their property. This program is free and participants go home with 100 Cyphocleonus achates (knapweed root weevil) to distribute on their spotted knapweed infestations. and a digging tool and are instructed on how to pull a tap-rooted spotted knapweed. The weed pull ends with students reseeding their disturbed sites with a mix of native grasses and forbs generously donated by the City of Missoula. By the end of the fieldtrip the students have worked through, what we at the Weed District encourage all landowners to try, an integrated approach to creating a functioning and healthy plant community. It is our hope that the Leave No Weeds program will help to teach a better understanding of our native landscape and lead our future generations to be better land stewards. The Leave No Weeds program reaches over 1,000 students every year. • Naturewalk Week • Washington Middle School Volunteer Day • WEN - Watershed Education • Lowell School - Moon Randolf Homestead • The kNOweeds K-12 Curriculum; Train the Trainer Arlee Public School • Lolo Public School Field Day • 4-H inature camp • BLM Youth Crew • Girl Scout Day Camp • kNOweeds Curriculum Dissemination

Prevention/New Invaders The weed district provides leadership in identifying and controlling noxious weeds classified as “new invaders” and implements programs to minimize the spread of existing noxious weed infestations. Missoula County New Invaders Task Force is a collaborative project involving public and private land managers working to document, treat and monitor all new invader sites in Missoula County as well as identify and systematically monitor sites that have a high risk of infestation. The task force began In April 2007 with the financial support of a Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant and has continued every season since. Landowners are organized according to new invader species, and eradication efforts occur through the coordinated efforts of commercial applicators, small landowner groups consisting of neighbors dealing with the new invader in their area and through the efforts of weed district staff. To date, approximately 500 new invader sites have been identified as part of this project in Missoula County. The identification of high risk sites occurs through collaboration with members of the Missoula Valley Land Managers Group, and includes sites like fishing access sites, roadside pullouts, campsites, rest areas, trailheads, popular sites for OHV use, industrial sites with high volumes of out-of-state traffic or large out-of-state freight, storage and transfer sites for heavy machinery that travels out of county. • Clearwater yellowflag iris/purple loosestrife project • Pattee yellowflag iris project • Japanese Knotweed Task Force • Rattlesnake Blueweed Project • Clark Fork Perennial Pepperweed Project • Mount Sentinel Dyer’s Woad Project • Western Montana Rush Skeletonweed Project

Photo By Lucas



Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose a major threat to the biodiversity of the aquatic ecosystems within Western Montana. AIS lead to a degradation of water quality and severely reduced species diversity by outcompeting native plants and decreasing desirable habitat. Missoula County currently has only one aquatic invasive plant infestation, Curlyleaf pondweed, on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers. The weed district works with a multitude of public and private partners to coordinate comprehensive surveys of the vegetation of our water bodies, monitor high use areas for aquatic invasive species (both plant and invertebrate) organize Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) system for quick management and early eradication of new infestations of AIS. • Surveyed and Monitored 30 of Missoula County’s high priority lakes • Surveyed Missoula County’s 18 fishing access sites on the Bitterroot, Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers • Partnering with MSU-Extension on the development of an identification key for aquatic plants in MT • Organized Rapid Response Exercise with Western MT Stakeholders • Aquatic Weed Identification events in Swan and Clearwater watersheds


Weed Management Areas

The weed district works to identify and prioritize research needs and works with the research community to develop new technologies that minimize the ecological and economic impact of noxious weeds, as well as promote desirable vegetation.

A weed management area ( WMA) is a region defined by similar habitats and similar problem weeds with vegetation management goals based on the control of one or more of these weeds.

Integrating Biological Control and Targeted Grazing for the Suppression of Spotted Knapweed is a project that seeks to determine if targeted sheep grazing can be used in conjunction with insect bio-control to more effectively reduce spotted knapweed. It compares insect populations and seed production of spotted knapweed in areas grazed by sheep in July, with areas grazed by sheep in August and areas with biological control only. The area has established insect bio-control populations, therefore grazing treatments also have bio-controls acting in combination with the sheep. Sheep graze areas until 90% or more of the buds, flowers and seedheads of spotted knapweed are removed. Collaborators include Jeff Mosley, Rachel Frost, Brent Roeder and Tracy Mosely. • Grazing Research on Missoula City Conservation Lands with Morgan Valliant • Use of Search Dogs for Detection of Dyer’s Woad at Low Densities with Marilyn Marler, Kim Goodwin and Working Dogs for Conservation • Environmental-DNA for Eurasian Watermilfoil, Curlyleaf Pondweed and Hydrilla with Ryan Thum, Adam Sepulveda and Andrew Ray • Mannix Brother’s Ranch Knapweed Research Project

The Swan Valley Cooperative Weed Management Area was formed in 2006 with the creation of a cooperative weed management plan to help guide management across ownerships in the watershed. By creating and formalizing the group, they have been successful in receiving 3 grants since 2007 from the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund to aid in their management goals. A total of $57,941 in grant funding has been used to treat 1,753 acres, over 60 miles of county road right-of-way for noxious weeds, and over 100 acres have been re-vegetated with native grasses and forbs. Over 60 private landowners have participated in this weed management area, improving wildlife habitat, forage for livestock, and aesthetics. Other WMA’s • Ninemile/Remount Weed Management Area • Sentinel/South Hills Weed Management Area • Lolo Creek Watershed Weed Management Area • Blackfoot River Leafy Spurge Weed Management Area • Landowner Partnership Grants – 700 grants have been awarded since the program began in 2001, with 46 grants awarded in 2012, totaling $23,715. • City/County Partnership Grants – funds available to city/county departments that manage land to develop and implement an integrated vegetation management program



2825 Santa Fe Court Missoula, MT 59808

Mapping & Inventory

Mapping is an essential component to any successful vegetation management project. Knowing the full extent of what you are dealing with is the key to being effective in your weed control efforts.

MISSOULA, MT 59801 Permit No. 402

Other Mapping Projects:

• County Roads and County Parks in the Swan Valley Missoula County Public Works yards, stockpiles, walkways and guardrails • Rush Skeletonweed - Valley of the Moon infestation (mapped and handpulled) Clark Fork River Yellowflag Iris/ Perennial Pepperweed • Clearwater River Yellowflag Iris Mapping and Treatment – Late in the 2011 field season • Blackfoot River (Corrick’s Riverbend scattered infestations of Yellowflag Iris and Perennial to Johnsrud) Pepperweed were detected and mapped on the Clark Fork • Lake Lolo Yellowflag Iris River below its confluence with the Bitterroot River at Kelly • The Nature Conservancy Montana Island. Both of these species are high priority new invaders in Missoula County and their emergence on the Clark Fork begged Legacy Project (180 miles of roads) an urgent response. In July, 2012 we returned to the Clark • Riverwatch Homeowners Fork River and spent four days treating and mapping Yellowflag Association – Salmon Lake Iris and Perennial Pepperweed between Kelly Island and the • Gleadall Ranch - Florence Missoula County Line in Alberton. Nearly 100 Yellowflag Iris • Missoula Parks and Recreation (new plants were treated, the majority being small first or second addition to Mount Jumbo in Marshall year seedlings. Only three larger plants capable of producing canyon from the Montana seeds were found and treated. In 2011 we hand pulled nearly Legacy Project) a dozen of the 48 iris plants mapped. We were unable to find most of those plants in 2012. However, 43 new iris plants were • A merica’s Great Outdoors Crown of found. Of the 6 Perennial Pepperweed sites mapped in 2011, 5 the Continent weed mapping were relocated and treated. 1 site appears to have been washed initiative - compiled invasives data away during spring runoff. Three new sites were mapped and from land managers within the treated, all in close proximity to previously known sites. Both Northern Crown of the the Yellowflag Iris and Perennial Pepperweed on Missoula’s Continent ecosystem and produced a lower Clark Fork appear to be in the early stages of invasion. series of maps. We are optimistic that we can prevent them from become established on the river and continuing to spread downstream, • Data coordination for the Mount but it will take continued vigilance. Sentinel Dyer’s Woad project

Missoula County Weed District Annual Report  
Missoula County Weed District Annual Report  

2012 Annual Report.