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2006 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Inventory and Monitoring of Invasive Species on Tamarac NWR
Region: 3
Station: Tamarac NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Wayne Brininger (218) 847-2641
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
Invasive species have long been known to occur on Tamarac NWR; however reliable information about their presence, distribution, density, and rate and direction of dispersal has been poorly documented in the past. The primary objective of this project was to utilize volunteers to gather baseline information on invasive plant 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
  Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Spotted knapweed Centaurea maculosa
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea
Common tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Hoary alyssum Berteroa incana
Plumeless thistle Carduus acanthoides
10 other species targeted as well
Project Status: Completed
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp             VA_GradIntern                    VA_Other
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Volunteers and interns collected inventory and monitoring data on all invasive plant species by systematically searching uplands (primarily grassland and brushland habitats) and some wetlands throughout the Refuge from May to September. Volunteers used a Recon TDS pocket PC equipped with a GPS (global positioning system) and GIS (geographic information system) software to document the size and distribution of any infestations of invasive species. This mobile weed mapping system, utilizes the WIMS (Weed Information Management System) developed by the Nature Conservancy, which integrates a Microsoft Access Database with GIS software to collect, store and analyze data in a consistent fashion. Volunteers were also involved in some of the treatments of the infestations, primarily removal of purple loosestrife.
Total Number of Volunteers: 7
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 750
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Minnesota Department of Agriculture The Nature Conservancy Concordia College Tamarac Interpretative Association 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 & 2006, MDA continued to monitor the effectiveness of biocontrol agents of spotted knapweed and collected biocontrol agents for release at other refuges and infestations within Minnesota. In 2005, refuge volunteers utilized protocol and technology developed by the MDA to begin mapping invasive species on the refuge, this partnership has been enhanced by promoting better communication and information exchange between the Refuge and MDA. In addition, this partnership has spawned a graduate research project on the refuge (Title: Survivability of Spotted Knapweed Biological Agents to Early Spring Prescribed Burns in Wisconsin and Minnesota). In 2006, regional staff encouraged the Refuge to begin using the Nature Conservancys (TNC) WIMS program which has enhanced our relationship with TNC staff. Refuge Friends organization - Tamarac Interpretative Association (TIA) has assisted with volunteer recruitment and sponsorship of volunteer training sessions.


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 2,500 acres of upland grass and brush habitat were inventoried for the presence of invasive species. This concludes a complete survey of all our open land habitats. A total of 750 infestations were located and mapped using the mobile mapping system. Spotted knapweed (264 infestations) Canada thistle (174 infestations) and plumeless thistle (96 infestations) comprised 71% of the total infestations. A total of 873 acres of infestations were documented during this survey including 332 acres of spotted knapweed, 145 acres of Canada thistle and 136 acres of plumeless thistle. One of the major goals of this project was to detect the primary threats at an early stage, so we could incorporate a rapid response effort in treating and eradicating these sites. The two primary threats, leafy spurge and purple loosestrife are limited to 6 acres and 0.4 acres respectively. Biocontrol agents have been released at all the leafy spurge sites. Most of the purple loosestrife sites have been treated by manually hand-pulling individual plants by the roots when possible. Two environmental education programs on invasive species were provided to the public throughout the summer and a portable exhibit, which focused on the target species and management efforts on the refuge, was developed late last year and was displayed in the Refuge visitor center throughout the summer.
Number of Acres Treated: 120
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 2500 inventoried (873 acres of infestation)
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:

$ $7,760.

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies $2,087 27%
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract $5,673 73%
Restoration Materials
TOTAL $7,760 100%

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This program was very useful in helping the refuge accomplish its objective of gathering comprehensive baseline data on invasive species. This database will enable refuge staff to make biological sound management decisions on which infestations to treat so we can have our greatest impact on these threats. Without the WIMS program and mobile mapping system this project would have been very difficult. Having some funding to contract a volunteer coordinator took a very large workload off the refuge staff as well. The WIMS program had a few glithces but TNC staff had excellent computer/program support which resolved problems in a quick and efficient manner.


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