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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Project Studies Effects of Herbicide Application on the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly

Region 8, August 30, 2011
Herbicide application in progress.
Herbicide application in progress. - Photo Credit: n/a

Miessner Preserve, a Wisconsin State Natural Area owned by The Nature Conservancy in Door County, is comprised of more than 40-acres of native sedge meadow wetland habitat that serves as the headwater area for Piel Creek. The site has been designated as a Critical Habitat Area for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly (HED) and is a known larval site for the species.

Unfortunately, dense stands of Reed Canary Grass (RCG) that have established along the edge of the wetland area are now spreading further into the wetland each year. There is concern that RCG will replace native vegetation and alter habitat characteristics which make the site suitable for the HED and other rare plant and animal species.

Therefore, plans to control RCG were developed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Green Bay Field Office in 2009. Because HED research and monitoring activities were being conducted at the site by the University of South Dakota, a decision was made to study the potential effects of herbicide application on HED. Both adverse effects from herbicide exposure, soil compaction, or burrow crushing, and beneficial effects from control of RCG encroachment and restoration of native vegetation are being investigated.

Water samples are being collected from crayfish burrows in the herbicide-treated areas before and after treatment, to compare potential herbicide concentrations and potential exposure levels to HED. In addition, this research will work to identify sampling designs which can be utilized to detect treatment impacts to HED populations. Due to wet conditions, herbicide application could not be completed in 2010, but was initiated in September of 2011. Data analysis relative to the initial herbicide application is currently under way and will continue for at least one more application.

Contact Info: John Riens, 541-885-2503, John_Riens@fws.gov