U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Logo U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

2007 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Project Title: Sericea lespedeza monitoring and eradication
Region: 3
Station: Neal Smith NWR
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Karen Viste-Sparkman 515-994-3400
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
Neal Smith NWR is a prototype tallgrass prairie ecological restoration that serves as a model for other restoration efforts. Sericea lespedeza (sericea) is a highly invasive shrubby perennial of grasslands, considered the upland equivalent of purple loosestrife. The plant grows deep roots and produces thousands of seeds, which are scarified by fire. Sericea is adapted to a variety of growing conditions, and outcompetes native prairie plants for light, water, and nutrients. It can eventually form dense stands that take over entire fields. The only effective method of control is spraying with herbicide. Sericea was first found on Neal Smith NWR in the mid-1990s as a few isolated plants and the infestation has spread to other locations on the refuge despite efforts to control it. Staffing shortages have prevented adequate monitoring of treated sites. In 2006 a major effort was undertaken to locate and treat sericea on Neal Smith NWR. Unfortunately, seeds began to ripen before all plants could be sprayed. Sericea is most easily detected in late summer, but most easily treated in early summer. All untreated populations were mowed to prevent seed ripening, and locations were recorded using GPS. With the help of volunteers, beginning in 2007 all of the past sericea locations will be re-visited and surveyed for sericea, and any sericea plants will be spot-sprayed. Other locations will be surveyed to detect any new or unknown infestations. Any location where sericea is found will be recorded using GPS and photographed to assist in monitoring. At this phase we believe the infestation on the refuge is still classified as Early Detection Rapid Response and is small enough to be completely eradicated.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Sericea lespedeza Lespedeza cuneata
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)
During the summer of 2007 two interns spent 640 hours searching for and spot-spraying sericea lespedeza and marking locations using GPS units. Two volunteers were trained in identification of the plant and use of GPS, and one was also trained and certified in herbicide application. One volunteer spent 4 hours searching for sericea lespedeza. During Fall 2007, researchers who use the refuge as a study site participated in sericea lespedeza monitoring with students. They and volunteers and 60 students from an Outward Bound program donated 284 hours searching for and marking points with GPS, and removing plants that had begun to produce seed. The volunteers trained earlier spent another 24 hours searching for sericea. These efforts together resulted in the monitoring and treatment of 673 acres on the Refuge.
Total Number of Volunteers: 99
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 968
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
Volunteers were recruited from the Friends of the Prairie Learning Center and from the public. Intern stipends were paid by the Friends group. Researchers who study refuge resources went the extra mile to contribute to this project. Outward Bound students were also partners in 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).
Interns and volunteers searched for and spot-sprayed sericea on approximately 800 acres, marking locations using GPS units. The volunteer time spent searching for sericea lespedeza resulted in the location of new infestations which were later treated. A map of known locations was produced and continues to be updated. This map is used to locate areas to be treated, and to monitor outcome of treatment. Staff continue to monitor, spray, and mow sericea plants.
Number of Acres Treated: 190
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 800
Number of Acres Restored:


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

Total Grant Amount:

$ $9945

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies $9945 100%
Biocontrol Agents
Volunteer Stipends
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract
Restoration Materials

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?
This grant has been extremely valuable for us to upgrade our equipment to a more user-friendly GPS that can be used by volunteers. Use of GPS is essential in re-locating these plants in the tallgrass prairie. Getting the grant was a great way to advertise for volunteers and help them understand the importance of invasive species monitoring.


- Return to Main Menu -