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2010 "Volunteers Working With Invasives"
Grants Report Form

Display Report


Region: 6
Station: Huron Wetland Management District
Contact Person:
Name and Phone Number
Clarke Dirks, Project Leader, 605-352-5894 X11
Project Description:
(Up to 250 words)
Huron WMD utilizes a volunteer-driven, 3-part approach to inventorying and monitoring invasive species. This proposal would allow Huron WMD to attain the funding necessary to support the administration, volunteer subsistence support, equipment, and travel needed to continue to implement the “Early Detection Rapid Response” and “Monitoring Control Response with Advanced Technology” elements of this successful volunteer program. Part 1 Inventory (completed & maintained): With volunteer assistance, the vegetation on all 17,596 acres of Huron WMD’s 61 WPAs was mapped, providing a comprehensive account of the invasive species threats. During the inventory phase, 8,754 acres of invasive, non-native grasses, 37 acres of Canada thistle and sow thistle, 6.8 acres of Russian olive, 22.9 acres of Siberian elm, 18.1 acres of eastern red cedar, and 0.6 acres of leafy spurge were identified and mapped. Part 2 Early Detection Rapid Response (in progress): With the assistance of 2 volunteers, Huron WMD will be piloting a special project in 2010 to help the weed spraying program pinpoint problem areas and improve spraying efficiency. Starting in early June, volunteers will rapidly visit WPAs that the maintenance staff does not have time to visit, searching for noxious weed outbreaks that would otherwise be left undiscovered. When noxious weeds are located, the volunteers will use Trimble GeoXT 2008 Series GPS units to map weeds using the RLGIS feature class “Invasive Plant Monitoring Polygon”. Unlike the inventory phase, this Early Detection/Rapid Response phase will be fine-tuned and focused on infestations of state-designated noxious weeds (e.g., Canada thistle, leafy spurge). The minimum mapping scale will be reduced from the ¼-acre scale of the vegetation map and all large patches of noxious weeds will be mapped, even when noxious weeds are below 50% of the plants present. Using the GPS data, maps will be developed in GIS and promptly reported to the maintenance staff. This reconnaissance technique has been used with promising results in the Madison WMD, where less chemical is now needed to better target more noxious weeds by scouting ahead of the spraying crews and directing the workload to the locations that need it the most. This rapid biological survey will also require volunteers to search for other noxious weeds that have been found in other parts of eastern SD and stand to pose a substantial threat to Huron WMD’s biological resources in not detected early (e.g., toadflax, salt cedar, knapweed, purple loosestrife). Part 3 (Monitoring Control Response with Advanced Technology) involves the use of volunteers to quantify the post-treatment response of invasive species. Following Early Detection Rapid Response, treatment effectiveness is precisely quantified either by re-mapping the treated area with a GPS or by using belt transects to measure vegetation response to treatment. These monitoring techniques have allowed Huron WMD to quantify progress towards reducing invasive species and therefore, objectively assess treatment efficacy. In addition, data has and will continue to be recorded in the RLGIS weed control database. Subsequent analysis of this data will help further develop best management practices for invasive species.
List of Invasives Species Targeted:Common NameScientific Name
  Canada Thistle Cirsium arvense
Sow Thistle Sonchus arvensis
Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula
Siberian Elm Ulmus pumila
Russian Olive Eleagnus angnstifolia
Eastern Red Cedar Juniperous virginiana
Smooth Brome Bromus inermis
Kentucky Bluegrass Poa pratensis
Crested Wheatgrass Agropyron cristsatum
Project Status: Completed
Project Completion Date
or Estimated Completion Date:


Volunteer Affiliation:
(Check all that apply)
VA_FriendsGrp                     VA_StudentConsAssoc            VA_Other
Volunteer Involvement:
Describe the type of work the volunteers performed. (Up to 150 words)
The rapid biological survey for new and expanding invasive threats and strategic monitoring of control measures will be completed as part of the duties of 2 volunteers: 1 SCA intern and 1 USFWS volunteer. In addition, Huron WMD maintains a highly active volunteer program, including support from a volunteer Friends Group. Should a new invasive species be discovered during the inventory phase, the Friends Group, USFWS volunteer, and SCA intern can be recruited to initiate a rapid, coordinated response which will ensure that the invasive species is eradicated or contained before it becomes so widespread that control becomes technically and/or financially infeasible.
Total Number of Volunteers: 2
Total Number of Volunteer Hours: 1,030
List both new and existing partnerships utilized in this project. (Up to 150 words).
We partnered with the Student Conservation Association to successfully recruit 1 SCA intern. Maps of invasive species infestation and treatment provide visually valid data for presentation to collaborative partners, including the District’s 8 County Weed Boards, 8 County Commissions, and the USFWS’s Private Lands Program. Our excellent relationship with these partners is bolstered thanks to the assistance of volunteers, who make it possible for us to (1) locate and initiate control efforts on new infestations and (2) communicate valid conclusions and interpretations of our control efforts for invasive species to our partners.


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).
This year, with assistance from 2 volunteers, volunteers helped the district assess the biological integrity and health of ~4,010 acres of native sod and planted natives. A baseline map of vegetative cover was developed in GIS for approximately 794 acres. Combined with previous years' efforts, a total of 17,500 acres on 61 Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) has been mapped. Through this mapping effort, 39 acres of reed canary grass, 5.3 acres of Russian olive, 13.3 acres of Siberian elm, 16.4 acres of eastern red cedar, 1.4 acres of leafy spurge, 15.6 acres of wormwood, and 7,887 acres of invasive non-native grasses in patches >1/4 acre have been identified and mapped. To date, no patches of yellow or dalmation toadflax, salt cedar, spotted or Russian knapweed, or purple loosestrife have been identified. Volunteers helped complete a comprehensive search of all leafy spurge infestations within the district. With their assistance, a baseline map of all unflooded spurge patches and plants on 7 WPAs was developed. This information will allow the district to better track spurge response to biological and chemical control. Volunteers also helped collect and release flea beetles on leafy spurge infestations for biological control. Volunteers helped conduct reconnaissance rapid surveys of Canada thistle infestations. The maps they helped develop directed spray crews to the WPAs most in need of herbicide application, thereby increasing efficiency of herbicide application (i.e., Early Detection Rapid Response). Since the inception of volunteer inventory and mapping project in 2005, 9.7-acres of Siberian elm, 1.7 acre of eastern red cedar, and 1.1 acres of Russian olive have been mechanically removed (0.4 acres in 2010).
Number of Acres Treated: 1,095
Number of Acres Inventoried and/or Mapped: 4,804
Number of Acres Restored: 0.4


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

Total Grant Amount:

$ $9,800.00

Breakdown of Expenditures:


Total $ Spent
% of Total Grant
Equipment / Supplies $1,100.00 11%
Chemical $0.00 0%
Biocontrol Agents $0.00 0%
Travel $1,500.00 15%
Volunteer Stipends $3,600.00 37%
Volunteer Coordinator Salary/Contract $3,600.00 37%
Restoration Materials $0.00 0%
Other $0.00 0%
TOTAL $9,800.00 100%

Recommendations: (OPTIONAL)
How useful was this program for meeting refuge invasive species objectives and how can it be improved?


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