Missoula District Employees Recognized for Weed Prevention Work

Release Date: Mar 26, 2014  

 Missoula, MT. – Missoula Ranger District employees Karen Stockmann and Carl Anderson were recently presented with the Montana Weed Control Association’s annual “Weed Stopper” award (http://www.mtweed.org/awards-scholarships/) for their efforts in helping prevent infestation of a destructive noxious weed in western Montana last summer.

Lolo Employees Receive Weed Prevention Award

In mid-September Anderson was conducting a routine check on the condition of the Fish Creek Road after the Lolo Creek Complex Fire when he noticed a yellow starthistle plant along Highway 12 adjacent to Fish Creek Road. Yellow starthistle is well established in Idaho but so far has not infested Montana. As part of the district’s Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) program, Anderson reported it and soon the Missoula County Weed District was notified and they immediately began eradication efforts.

Employees from both the county and Forest were soon on sight to survey portions of Highway 12 and Fish Creek Road to ensure additional plants were not establishing. The individual plant was pulled and a 500 foot corridor on either side of the plant’s location was treated with five ounces of Milestone along the highway corridor.

“Karen notified us the same day and together we went out to confirm the report,” said Bryce Christiaens, Missoula County Weed District Manager. “We found a total of two starthistle plants at the site growing just off the pavement along Highway 12. Both were flowering but had not gone to seed. Thanks to Carl and Karen’s quick reporting we were able to remove the plants on the same day that they were reported, as well as survey and treat the entirety of Highway 12 before the end of the season.”

Stockmann said yellow starthistle is listed as a Priority 1A noxious weed for Montana. This means established populations are not found in the state and management priorities focus on education, prevention, and eradication (when plants or small populations are found). These priorities are designed to prevent new populations from establishing in Montana. Since 1958, yellow starthistle has been reported in only eight counties in Montana. These infestations were detected early and immediately eradicated. This recent discovery bumps the number of reported sites to nine.

“This weed is an aggressive invader,” Stockmann said. “It’s prevalent in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. California alone has documented the weed invading over 10 million acres.” She said the 0.5 to 2-inch long spines that grow from the bracts on the bright yellow flowers make any infested area undesirable to wildlife. As a rapid colonizer, it germinates quickly under most conditions and seeds can germinate throughout the year and overwinter as seedling.

The public is asked to contact their county weed coordinator before applying eradication efforts so they can properly identify and map the location of the plant. To locate your county weed coordinator please visit, http://www.mtweed.org/find-weed-coordinator/

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