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2005 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Inventory & Monitoring of Invasive Species on Tama
Region: 3
Station: Tamarac NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Barbara Boyle 218-847-2641
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
On Tamarac NWR, there are numerous invasive species of concern, but five species are of particular importance (considered primary targets for the refuge). The primary targets include spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife, plumeless thistle and Canada thistle. Although these species are known to occur on the Refuge, reliable information about their presence, distribution, density, and rate and direction of dispersal has been poorly documented. The primary objective of this project is to utilize volunteers to gather baseline information on these five species; with a secondary objective to monitor the effectiveness of biological control agents (bio-agents) and chemical applications in an effort to further promote the use of bio-agents and reduce the dependency of chemical applications on public and private lands. This basic information is crucial for setting priorities for control, developing management strategies, estimating impacts and evaluating management effectiveness. This information would also help support the weed management information system by promoting Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR).
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula
Spotted Knapweed Centurea maculosa
Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Plumeless Thistle Caruus acanthoides
Canada Thistle Cirsium arvense
Project Status: InProgress
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp                             VA_MGardener    VA_Other
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Volunteers collected inventory and monitoring data on the five primary targets by systematically searching uplands (primarily grassland units) and wetlands, as well as known sites, throughout the Refuge from May to September. Volunteers used a GPS (global positioning system) unit and/or pocket PC with GIS (geographic information system) software to document the size and distribution of any infestations of these species. This mobile weed mapping system, which was developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, was used to collect data in a consistent fashion; thus the information could be incorporated into Minnesotas weed management database, as well as integrated into the Refuges GIS database. Volunteers also collected information on the density of five leafy spurge infestations by counting the number of spurge plants in square meter subplots which were randomly selected. In addition, purple loosestrife was hand-pulled by volunteers at several sites in an effort to immediately eradicate the infestation.
Total Number of Volunteers: 10
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 197
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
In 2004, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) began monitoring the effectiveness of biocontrol agents on spotted knapweed on the Refuge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had utilized the refuge as an insectary for biocontrol agents for spotted knapweed prior to MDAs efforts. In 2005, MDA continued to monitor the effectiveness of biocontrol agents of spotted knapweed. Since the refuge volunteers utilized protocol and technology developed by the MDA, this partnership has been enhanced by promoting better communication and information exchange between the Refuge and MDA. In addition, MDA staff assisted the Refuge with volunteer orientation by providing an overview presentation on the MDAs statewide program and training volunteers in the identification of invasive species of Minnesota. In an effort to coordinate invasive species control efforts regionally, this training session was also open to staff from Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District and Clay County employees. Since the near-by Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District initiated a similar baseline inventory project this year and utilized the MDA mobile mapping system as well, a more coordinated effort by the USFWS has been fostered in Becker County. The Refuge Friends organization - Tamarac Interpretative Association (TIA) assisted with volunteer recruitment and sponsorship of volunteer training sessions. Of the seven volunteers, four were members of TIA, but had not been actively volunteering for the refuge prior to this project.


Project Results:
Give an overview of the results of the project. Include quantifiable measure of success, such as maps produced, efficacy of control measures, number of sites where invasions were detected early and responded to, number of community contacts, etc. (Up to 250 words).
Probably, the most significant outcome of this project was the integration of a consistent, reliable system for documenting the presence, size, distribution, relative abundance and rate of spread for invasive species within the Refuge. Approximately 130 acres of upland grass habitat were inventoried for the presence of invasive species. Leafy spurge infestations were documented on five sites, totaling 4.64 acres. A total of 170 subplots (1m2) were distributed proportionately (based on size) across these five infestations to document the density of leafy spurge and the efficacy of biocontrol agents. However, the efficacy of the biocontrol agents requires long-term monitoring, thus statistically valid results will not be available until subsequent years. Two infestations of purple loosestrife plants, including 12 plants (or 34 stems) were documented. These plants, including the roots when feasible, were hand-pulled before seed production. A total of 65 acres of spotted knapweed have been mapped to date. Vegetation and biocontrol agent sampling were conducted by MDA staff at one of the sites to determine the efficacy of the biocontrol agents on spotted knapweed. Data collected will also help determine trends of spotted knapweed control, including landscape, soil, temperature, land use, etc. The long-term goal is to develop protocol for future management decisions and best management practices. Twenty-three people were trained at the initial orientation program and training session, including Tamarac Refuge Staff, Detroit Lakes WMD staff, Clay County employees and volunteers. Six environmental education programs were presented at four different locations in the surrounding area. Over 250 children and adults attended these programs and were educated about management of invasive species. Invasive species management will be a highlight during our Annual Fall Festival. Guided prairie walks will educate approximately 250 visitors on native prairie restoration, the impact of invasive species and their management of the refuge. A portable exhibit focusing on the target species and management efforts on the refuge was developed for use at a variety of educational venues, including the refuge visitor center where it will be viewed annually by approximately 5000 visitors.
Number of Acres Treated: 70
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 75
Number of Acres Restored: 0


Budget: Account for funds in broad categories such as equipment, volunteer stipends, travel, coordinator salary/contract, etc.

Total Grant Amount:

$ 5000

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies 4275 85
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials
Other 725 15
TOTAL 5000 100

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This program was very useful for meeting refuge invasive species objectives. We were able to procure much needed startup equipment which will be used throughout the lifetime of this project. In addition, the program allowed us to develop a cadre of trained individuals to assist in this endeavor, to strengthen our partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and to coordinate regionally with other FWS offices and non-governmental agencies. In terms of improvements to the program, we were unaware that the dollars could be used to pay salaries for a volunteer coordinator and to reimburse for travel expenses. These 2 options will greatly expand the potential of our program in the future. Volunteer coordination is a tremendous additional workload for a permanent employee. I view the opportunity to hire someone to coordinate daily activities with oversight from permanent staff a much more efficient operation. In addition, our station is in a rural setting - 20 miles from the nearest community. Several volunteers expressed concern about their gas expenses, especially when the prices went up after Hurricane Katrina. Mileage reimbursements would be a plus. Fortunately, our Friends organization was able to provide some reimbursements.


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