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2005 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Incorporation of Biological Controls for Leafy Sp
Region: 6
Station: Devils Lake Wetland Management District
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Cami Dixon, 701-662-8611, ext. 334
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
In adhering to the stations Integrated Pest Management Plan, staff of the Devils Lake Wetland Management District (DLWMD) is focused on intensifying and initiating biological controls for leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), both prevalent invasive species across North Dakota. Significant portions of refuge lands within the DLWMD are infested with leafy spurge. In the past, several flea beetles have been released, most of which were obtained from insectivories developed by the North Dakota State University Extension Service. As part of this current project, the goal was to determine if past releases of the insects resulted in the establishment of insectivories on refuge lands; hence the request for the equipment to collect and transfer flea beetles. Further, as part of this project infestations of leafy spurge were delineated and mapped using Trimble GPS Units and uploaded into the Refuge Lands GIS program. In the past, the primary tool for Canada thistle control has been chemical and mowing rotations. To expand IPM strategies, the second major goal of this project is to purchase and release biological controls for Canada thistle. Stem gall flies (Urophora cardui) and stem mining weevils (Hadroplontus litura) were purchased and released at sites within the DLWMD based on specifications from successful release sites in South Dakota. Also, as part of this project, the Trimble GPS units were used to delineate the vegetative cover, and to accurately geo-reference locations of the monitoring transects. These data were all uploaded into the stations Refuge Lands GIS program.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula
Canada Thistle Cirsium arvense
Project Status: Completed
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Ms. Andrea Hewitt spent much of her volunteer time working with Sullys Hill National Game Preserve and Sullys Hill Wildlife Refuge Society. As part of her experience with the National Wildlife Refuge System, she also assisted with invasive plant management throughout the Devils Lake Wetland Management District (DLWMD). First, she was trained and then assisted seasonal staff at the station in monitoring noxious weeds on Waterfowl Production Areas (this included the use of the Trimble GPS units). Further, she also assisted with organizing the monitoring for potential leafy spurge flea beetle insectivories on refuge lands. The efforts for which Ms. Hewitt committed the most time were related to the Canada thistle insect releases and monitoring. Ms. Hewitt assisted with the baseline monitoring on the two Waterfowl Production Areas where the insects were planned for release. Next, she also assisted with the insect releases that took place in July and August. As part of her involvement, she organized and labeled all of the photos that were taken as part of the monitoring protocol.
Total Number of Volunteers: 1
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 48
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Ms. Andrea Hewitt, a student from the University of North Dakota (UND), initially came to the station as a volunteer with Sullys Hill and the associated Wildlife Refuge Society (SHWRS). Although UND and SHWRS were existing partners of the DLWMD for various activities, this invasive species project was the first time the two came together. Previously, students from UND have worked on graduate level research with us, rather than field management activities. As a station, we were able to work toward meeting our Integrated Pest Management goals, while providing a student with experiences of the actual field work involved with managing refuge lands. Additionally, our partnership with the North Dakota State University Extension Service will continue. We anticipate that we will continue to collect leafy spurge insects at their insectivories, while we work on developing our own sites. Ideally, through this partnership we will eventually support our respective flea beetle needs and be able to provide adjacent private landowners with beetles as well.


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).
Six Waterfowl Production Areas were surveyed for the presence of leafy spurge and flea beetles. Theses areas were selected for survey because in the late 1990s and early 2000s anywhere from 250,000-800,000 flea beetles were released at each site. It was determined that none of these sites were viable for an insectivory, as they either had too few insects or the insects were so effective (presumably) that the spurge is nearly gone. Additionally, as part of this survey, fourteen Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) and Sullys Hill National Game Preserve (SHNGP) were mapped for leafy spurge infestations. These will be areas of potential flea beetle releases in 2006, where we will obviously need to continue our partnership with the North Dakota State University Extension Service to obtain insects. Two WPAs were selected for the release of Canada thistle insects. Initially, it was planned that these insects would be released at SHNGP, however further research into the biology of these insects indicated that the two WPAs would actually be more viable for success. At each site we released 500 of each of the stem gall fly (Urophora cardui) and the stem mining weevil (Hadroplontus litura), for a total of 1,000 insects per site. Multiple transects were established at each site to monitor the changes in the thistle plants over time. Additionally, photopoints were established at each transect as another tool to monitor. From the July release of the stem gall flies, galls are already readily forming on the plants as of August 15.
Number of Acres Treated: 26.9
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 741.7
Number of Acres Restored: NA


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

Total Grant Amount:

$ 13281

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies 8630 65
Biocontrol Agents 2150 16
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials
Other 2501 19
TOTAL 13281 100

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This program fostered creativity in partnership development, especially dealing with an unglamorous side of refuge management (invasive species). It would be beneficial to fund multi-year projects, since meeting refuge invasive species objectives requires several years of treatment to see results. As an example, for our project, we will need to do another release of Canada thistle insects in 2006 if we intend to have the maximum impact on the thistle. At this point, the only way we will be able to fund this is through grant monies.


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