Peter M. Rice, Chris Toney and Bob Sacco, December 1997
Preface and Goals:
The Blackfoot Challenge is developing and implementing integrated management plans for several well known weeds, declared noxious by the State of Montana, that are currently problem plants in the Blackfoot River drainage, west-central Montana. These wide-spread noxious weeds include leafy spurge, Dalmatian toadflax, spotted knapweed, sulfur cinquefoil, and Saint Johnswort.
The task of the INVADERS work group was to identify additional exotic plant species that have the potential to become significant problem weeds over the next five decades in the Blackfoot drainage. Professional awareness of new invaders and early detection are the essential prerequisites for any successful eradication or containment action. The cost-benefit ratio is optimized by intervention during the initial phases of spread of a weed species.
Suggested multi-year efforts:
The principal multi-year goal of the early detection and prevention components of an integrated weed management plan is to empower land managers to eradicate or contain new invaders before they can become widespread and permanent members of the local plant communities. Obtaining this goal would involve seven overlapping steps:
1. The creation of an alert list.
2. Determination of environments susceptible to invasion.
3. Determine characteristics necessary to identify these new invaders in the field, prepare training materials (herbarium mounts, photos, key field character tables) and conduct short courses to teach local land managers how to recognize these less well known weed species.
4. Conduct cooperative surveys of the Blackfoot River Basin and surrounding areas to locate example colonies for training, determine the current magnitude of the problem, and provide the mapping information necessary to implement control action if deemed prudent.
5. Provide managers with tactics and methods for eradication or containment of these species.
6. Implement the control actions.
7. Monitor the response of these target colonies.
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