- November 21, 2019
- Posted by Mike Saboe
Our project in Charles M Russell National Wildlife refuge focused primarily on weed spraying for Tamarisk and Russian Olive. We assembled three crews just North of Roy Montana, two of which were from the Helena MCC office. Our project partners were an assortment of representatives from the BLM and nonprofits that focus on reduction of Noxious weeds.
The Tamarisk population has spread rapidly in recent years especially in areas of land that flood seasonally along the banks of the Missouri River. As such, our project was to walk shoulder to shoulder through dense weeds along the river bank and flood plain and target spray each Tamarisk plant individually. The effectiveness of this at the time felt minimal, but in retrospect, the project covered a large section of land and increased our individual awareness of invasive plant species as it relates to the health of the ecosystem.
The BLM is currently considering other alternatives to spraying by using a potential beetle introduction program to help combat Tamarisk. Unfortunately, due to issues related to obtaining approval for the beetle introduction and the risks associated with introducing yet another non-native species, the likelihood of approval for this project could take years. In the meantime, Tamarisk is devastating native plant populations and upsetting the local ecosystem.
Overall, our team felt motivated despite the difficult working conditions and we enjoyed the comradery of our fellow crews from Helena during our time there.
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