Invasive Weeds in State Crosshairs for 2012
Aug. 9, 2012
(Lindon, Utah) - The highly invasive weed Phragmites australis, that has overtaken more than 1,500 acres on the north shore of Utah Lake, is the target of the latest eradication effort by a coalition of the UDAF, Utah Lake Commission, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah County Commissioners, and private land owners.
Aerial application of the EPA approved herbicide, AquaNeat (RoundUp for marine use) is designed to kill the weed that is crowding out fish habitat, impacting water quality, restricting public access to the lake, and invading agriculture land near the lake. Statewide, other invasive weeds cause economic harm to farmers and ranchers and are prone to burn.
Aerial application of the EPA approved herbicide AquaNeat
(marine Roundup) is designed eradicate the highly invasive
weed Phragmites australis; better known as the common reed.
Following an earlier treatment program, more than three miles of
Utah Lake shoreline has been cleared of the invasive weed
Phragmities (frag-mighties) may appear innocent, but they
spread quickly from their seeds and underground roots system.
Left unchecked, the reed can overtake valuable farming and
recreation lands and can invade residential areas.
June 14, 2012
(Eureka, Utah) - A stepped-up assault on invasive weeds is underway in Utah following a $1 million Legislative allocation to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Squarrose Knapweed, Dyer's Woad, Canada Thistle, Leafy Spurge, Medusahead and several other invasive weeds are responsible for millions of dollars of losses in livestock and wildlife forage, a reduction in wildlife populations, and an increase in wildland fires and suppression costs.
A weed control project recently conducted in Juab County successfully transformed a pasture that was infested with Squarrose Knapweed into a productive field of native and introduced grasses. The UDAF, working with Utah State University, county weed control boards and others, expects to repeat that success throughout Utah.
The economic and environmental threats associated with invasive weeds prompted the Governor-appointed Agriculture Sustainability Task Force to recommend $1 million be targeted for invasive species control work. SB 61, The Invasive Species Amendments Bill, authored by Sen. Ralph Okerlund (Monroe, Utah) appropriated those funds to the UDAF to begin the war on weeds.
"These weeds may start out in our open spaces, but they can eventually make their way to the Wasatch Front, where they become a problem for urban residents as well," said Plant Industry Director, Robert Hougaard. "Invasive weeds on public lands diminish productivity and healthy landscapes which results in a loss of recreation activities, reduced diversity of wildlife, and a significant wild fire threat" he added.
A partnership of land stewardship agencies have targeted numerous infested locations for landscape-scale treatments during 2012 and beyond.
The Threat of Invasive Weeds
Weeds fuel catastrophic wildfires: Utah's largest-ever fire, the 2007 Milford Flat fire was fueled by hot
dry winds blowing through more than 300,000 acres of cheatgrass (downy brome) in Millard County. Invasive weeds impact wildland ecosystems and have altered fire frequencies and intensities in the Intermountain West. Although the exact acreage is unknown, 100% of Utah's counties (29 of 29) are severely infested by at least one of the state-designated noxious weeds
Weeds increase food prices: Weed-infested farm ground makes food more expensive. It costs money to treat productive ground for weeds that are competing with food crop for space, moisture and nutrients. Uncontrolled weeds lower both the yield and quality of food crops, increasing their costs to consumers.
Poisonous weeds cause livestock deaths. The Poisonous Plant Laboratory in Logan, Utah identified six toxic weeds common to the Western range.
Halogeton causes kidney damage and death in sheep.
Skunk cabbage causes birth defects in lambs if ewes consume it during the first 30 days of pregnancy.
Lupine causes neurological problems and death in sheep if they graze seeds in pods.
Locoweed causes wasting disease and birth defects in livestock.
Larkspur kills more cattle on mountain summer range than any other plant or disease. Cattle can die within five hours after consuming the plant.
Broom snakeweed cause late-term abortions in cattle.
Smart phone users can detect and report invasive species of plants and insects with the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMS) application. At: http://apps.bugwood.org/mrwc.html
For more information about Utah's invasive weeds program, contact Rich Riding: 801-538-7123.
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updated: June 26, 2012