Weed and Pest Conference sees focus on potential invasive grasses
Jackson – This year’s Wyoming Weed and Pest Conference was held in Jackson from Oct. 28-31 and focused on the topic of invasive species and their impacts across the West.
“This year, we were able to have a good conference in Jackson,” says Wyoming Weed and Pest Coordinator Slade Franklin. “It worked out well and working with the North American Invasive Species Management Association was great.”
Franklin noted, “One of the most interesting topics was the discussion on invasive grasses,” Franklin continues. “Obviously we hear a lot about cheatgrass, but there are other species that we have had discussions on.”
Grasses such as medusahead, ventenata grass and buffelgrass were all topics of focus.
“We invited individuals from other states to talk about the challenges of controlling these grasses,” he says. “These species are coming closer and closer to the Wyoming line.”
These invasive species, noted Franklin, have the potential to create problems similar to or worse than cheatgrass infestations.
“There is some talk about how cheatgrass has early spring forage value,” he explains, “but with medusahead, we don’t see any forage value at all.”
The species creates a mat of grass similar to cheatgrass, resulting in high fire potential and take-over of ecological systems.
“These grasses are already present in Idaho and Nevada, and they have taken over,” Franklin adds. “They are slowly progressing toward the east.”
The result of continued movement of equipment putting in pipelines, oil developments and power lines, as well as movement of farm equipment means there is a higher potential of spread of these grasses.
“As we see more equipment moving around, it is certainly something that we should be concerned about,” Franklin comments.
Next year’s meeting will be held in Rock Springs on Nov. 3-5.
Look for more from the Wyoming Weed and Pest Conference in next week’s paper. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.