You’ve played, you’ve cleaned, and you’ve gone. And still your favorite outdoor ecosystem has fallen prey to invasive species. Is the battle over, or are there more ways to do your part?
While prevention is the most vital step in invasive species management, sometimes an infestation can’t be helped. Once a noxious weed infestation has been established on your property, you've got to figure out what to do with it. That can be a discouraging prospect.
For example, let's say you discover a musk thistle infestation. After doing some research and consulting local experts, you learn this plant's seeds survive in the soil for 50 years, and controlling them can be daunting task.
But total eradication isn't always a realistic or desirable goal when responding to an invasive species infestation. In fact, once you know an infestation exists, there are three different major control goals to consider: eradication, containment, and suppression.
More and more people who enjoy the outdoors are helping to reduce the spread of invasive species such as spotted knapweed, Eurasian water-milfoil, and Asian longhorn beetle. They've been using boot brushes and boat washing stations, buying firewood where they burn it, and taking other action steps recommended by PlayCleanGo.
But in northwest lower Michigan, a new pest is providing new challenges: the hemlock woolly adelgid. Because of the ways it eats, lives, and travels, some additional steps are needed for recreationists to help stop its spread.
As a kid I loved fishing on Lake Minnetonka, but my favorite memories were going up to my great aunt and uncle's home on Lake Mille Lacs. With a cigar in his mouth, my great uncle and I caught jumbo perch, eel pout, and walleyes a plenty. Rarely did a day of fishing not end with a fish fry. Fast forward 30+ years. Many things have changed.
You have this person in your life. You may classify this person in a number of ways: unconventional, outdoorsy, adventurous, dirtbag. They may also go by Dad, Father, Step-Dad, Pops, or a number of other titles. And this person may seem hard to shop for. They have all the gear they need, and don’t really like extra “stuff” lying around. So what do you do?
Here are some gifts you'll love to give — and they'll love to get, on Father's Day or any other special occasion.
The first-ever PlayCleanGo Awareness Week is taking place June 1–8, 2019 with events across North America!
As we get our gear out for the fun summer season of camping and outdoor adventures, will you pledge to take this week to learn all about invasive species and how they spread, become an expert at cleaning yourself, your gear, and your furry friends after your outside time, and take this opportunity to teach your friends?
Growing up active in school sports, I never had very much time to develop any hobbies and as a result I wasn’t sure what major I wanted in college-let alone a career for the rest of my life. I went in undecided, declared my major as psychology, switched to social work, but nothing really stuck. I worked at a hardware store during the summer and that didn’t help me make any decisions about my future.
Luckily for me, one of my friends suggested I apply at the Sublette County Weed and Pest (SCWP) District as a seasonal employee and make more money than I currently was. Always a sucker for a few more bucks, I applied and lo and behold I got the job. I knew nothing about invasive species and equated the job to something akin to landscaping. When our supervisors started our training and we sat through a slew of presentations on pesticides, applicator safety, and plant ID, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
Boot brush stations are becoming more and more popular as a tool to both raise awareness about invasive species and to reduce the spread and establishment of new infestations. Often placed at trailheads, these boot brush stations offer education about local invasive species while inviting outdoor enthusiasts to remove foreign material including seeds that can be stuck on their shoes BEFORE and AFTER their adventure into the forest.
This type of spread prevention practice is similar to equipment cleaning, using only local firewood, and inspecting boats at ramps. Spread prevention aims to change behaviors to eliminate even the slightest opportunity for an invasive species to establish. This type of management avoids the costs and time of controlling or eradicating intact infestations.
But, are boot brush stations really effective?
In grade school, do you remember the decorated classroom doors? Each door had its own personality, distinct and characteristic of the teacher’s class. Looking back, one door in particular has been wedged in my brain. It was a colorful spring door that read, “April showers bring May flowers – but what do May flowers bring?” I’ve thought about this many times. Nothing has fit perfectly, until now!
April Showers bring Invasive May Flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Summer tourists, recreational activities, and the threat of spreading those invasive species - no one asked for that!
Land managers and natural resource groups invest heavily in invasive species control efforts to protect and maintain healthy biodiversity of native flora and fauna. However, obtaining that same level of commitment from right-of-way managers can be a different story. The highway department’s plan is simple - mow before plant material becomes a hazard!
For me, that was the beginning of my struggle! We don’t have the same goal for the resource, let alone speak the same management language. Have you had this same struggle; trying to figure out how you can get commitment from the highway departments to help mitigate such a complicated and cumbersome issue?
Well, here I am to walk you down the road less traveled, sharing techniques that worked for us!