As winter comes to a close you may be looking forward to gardening, hoping a weedless lawn will thank you for your efforts. But inevitably, when the snow finally melts, seedlings of your least favorite weeds will begin to pop up in areas that you have treated, pulled, and dead-headed until you were sure they were all gone.
Established invasive species populations take time and money to control and are an eyesore that can alter migration routes, increase fine fuels for fires, and choke out native vegetation. It would make sense to assume that the most established infestation of invasive species would be public enemy number one, but it’s not. For widespread infestations, suppression and education are key to inch towards control. New invasive species should be at the top of every invasive species manager’s priority list.
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.
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.