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Management and Ecology of Invasive Plant Species

Invasive plants are non-native species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal. These plants are characteristically adaptable, aggressive, and have a high reproductive capacity. Their vigor, combined with a lack of natural enemies, often leads to outbreak populations. These invasive plant species have become a threat to Montana’s range natural resources. They are reducing the productivity of our rangelands, the economic vitality of our ranches, the habitat our wildlife depend upon, and the quality and quantity of our waters.

According to the Montana Weed Control Association, knapweed and leafy spurge - just two of the 27 weeds currently listed as a “Noxious Weed” by the state - have established themselves in every county since first being sighted in 1925. Other species may prove even more difficult to contain.

Since no single noxious weed treatment works in every situation, the best results are obtained using site-specific, integrated methods that take into account how the land will be used. The key to invasive species control is to understand your specific situation. There is not a boiler-plate solution to weeds, even to the same weeds. In eastern Montana, which is still relatively weed-free, efforts can focus on weed prevention. In western Montana, where weeds have already spread, the focus must be on management and minimizing spread.

NRCS Technical Resources

The following on-line NRCS technical resources provide information pertaining to control and management of invasive plant species:

The following publications can be ordered by contacting publications:

  1. Ecology and Management of Spotted Knapweed
  2. Ecology and Management of Leafy Spurge
  3. Ecology and Management of Dalmatian Toadflax
  4. Ecology and Management of Canada Thistle
  5. Ecology and Management of Yellow Toadflax
  6. Ecology and Management of Russian Knapweed
  7. Ecology and Management of Houndstongue
  8. Ecology and Management of Field Bindweed
  9. Ecology and Management of Dyer’s Woad
  10. Ecology and Management of Perennial Pepperweed
  11. Ecology and Management of Invasive Hawkweeds
  12. Ecology and Management of Leafy Spurge
  13. Ecology and Management of Oxeye Daisy
  14. Ecology and Management of Perennial Pepperweed
  15. Ecology and Management of Purple Loosestrife
  16. Ecology and Management of Russian Knapweed
  17. Ecology and Management of Salt Cedar
  18. Ecology and Management of Spotted Knapweed
  19. Ecology and Management of Sulfur Cinquefoil
  20. Ecology and Management of Whitetop
  21. Ecology and Management of Yellow Toadflax

Additional information is available from NRCS at your local USDA Service Center

NRCS Conservation Programs

Land owners and land managers interested in controlling invasive plant species on their land may be eligible for technical and financial assistance through the NRCS conservation programs listed here.

  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The Conservation Security Program is a program that rewards conservation stewardship. Current weed control management would be one of the criteria for eligibility into the program. Once in the program, the contract holder would be eligible to receive enhancement payments for implementation of innovative and more complex weed management activities, such as reduction of pesticidal spray overlap through technology, precision application of pesticides, and implementation of an annual weed scouting program on rangeland. For more information:  Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available to those who qualify as agricultural producers. It is a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. For more information: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP, NRCS provides both technical assistance and up to 75 percent cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed. For more information: Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

Invasive Species Information Available on Other Web Sites