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2006 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Finding and fighting the invasives
Region: 3
Station: Rice Lake NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Michelle McDowell, 218-768-2402
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
Invasive species were named the largest threat to Rice Lake NWR in the national threats/conflicts database. Several invasive species are known to occur on Rice Lake NWR, however size and precise locations were not known. Other species occur just outside the refuge boundaries (within one mile) and we need to be vigilant in finding new outbreaks quickly and treating them effectively. Another important aspect is to educate the local community and visitors from outside the local area in an effort to reduce the spread of exotic invasive species. The bulk of the field work will be completed between March and October 2006. All sites documented during this work will be treated during this project timeframe if appropriate or will be incorporated in future habitat management. Some treatments and post treatment monitoring and new outbreak surveillance will continue into future years. Large infestations typically need more equipment, funding, personnel and coordination. Exotic invasive species that are known to exist on Rice Lake NWR that will be documented and mapped during this project are: European buckthorn, leafy spurge, phragmites, and Canada thistle. Invasive species that are expanding in the local area, but currently are not documented to occur on the refuge include purple loosestrife, spotted knapweed, earthworms and gypsy moth. Public Outreach and/or Environmental Education: Invasive species information was provided while staffing booths at four outreach events: Aitkin Sports Show, Rivers and Lakes Fair, Aitkin County Fair, and McGregor Wild Rice Days.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Common reed Phragmites australis
European buckthorn Rhamnus spp.
Canada thistle Cirsium arvense
Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Spotted knapweed Centaurea maculosa
Reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea
White sweet clover Melilotus alba
Gypsy moth Lymantria dispar
Project Status: InProgress
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp                                 VA_Other
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
Refuge volunteers, volunteer high school students, and volunteer college students mapped invasive species on the refuge using GPS and GIS technology. Work was completed under field conditions (bugs and humid heat) often traveling by boat and or hiking long distances to infestation patches. Refuge volunteers and the Friends of Rice Lake Refuge provided information on how to identify and appropriate action at community events including the Rivers and Lake Fair and the Aitkin County Fair.
Total Number of Volunteers: 16
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 560
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Friends of Rice Lake Refuge, Refuge Volunteers, Minnewawa Lake Association, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Mille Lac Band of Ojibwe Department of Natural Resources, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe summer youth employment program, Cornell University


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).
Community contacts totaled over 1,300 people. This includes contacts made at the local county fair and door to door contacts made by a local lake association. Over 200 invasions (six invasive species) totaling over 60 acres were detected and mapped with GPS/GIS technology to facilitate treatment in the future (this does not include phragmites stands). Samples of phragmites were sent to Cornell University for DNA testing; samples were native types.
Number of Acres Treated: 0
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 116
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:

$ 6,000

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies
Biocontrol Agents
Travel 400 7
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract 5600 93
Restoration Materials
TOTAL 6000 100

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
It was crucial for implementing our invasive species inventory, monitoring and control program. We still have a long ways to go. To improve: fund additional years, coordinate GIS/GPS support. Glitches in the operation and updating of the GPS PDAs and WIMS database take extra unexpected time. The GPS/GIS system needs to be updated and maintained by someone with experience. Coordination with a "help desk" may facilitate remedies.


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