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July Weed of the Month: Strategic Invasive Plant Management

Strategic invasive plant management begins with early detection and rapid response. New infestations are recorded and submitted to a national database. With high priority noxious weeds, collaborations between state and county agencies, landowners, and local partners help to formulate management plans.

With the invasive plants on Minnesota's Noxious Weed Eradicate List, small, isolated infestations are targeted before they become widespread. Prioritizing which species to target includes a careful study of the risk assessment, mapping infestations and monitoring its spread. Ken Graeve, a roadside vegetation manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, says that "prioritizing efforts on the high-risk weed infestations can use resources more efficiently and greatly reduce future impacts from these emerging invasive species."

In northern Minnesota, multi-agency and private landowner cooperative efforts have kept Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) contained in small, isolated areas. This plant is targeted for eradication. Dalmatian toadflax is a significant problem in Western states, where infestations in pasture and grazeland reduce land value. When the Minnesota infestations were discovered, the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Transportation mapped the area and began preliminary control work. Local landowners and county staff cooperated to have infestations controlled across public and private lands.

Strategic management of target invasive plants helps protect Minnesota's ecosystems and natural resources. By managing small infestations of high priority species, large scale infestations are prevented and management costs are reduced. With small, isolated infestations, "it is hard to notice the absence of a problem, but that shouldn't diminish the importance of the work that goes into preventing such a problem" says Ken Graeve.


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