Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Game and Fish participates in annual Johnson County weed pull

Game and Fish participates in annual Johnson County weed pull

September 03, 2021
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Sheridan -

Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel participated in the annual noxious weed pull day in Johnson County on June 11. Efforts from that day in addition to volunteer work throughout the summer resulted in the removal of thousands of pounds of weeds from the landscape.

The program pays participants 50 cents per pound of weeds that are pulled and brought in during the summer, with awards issued for various categories such as largest taproot and most pounds collected. This year, participants collected 8,743 pounds of noxious weeds and received more than $5,000 in payments and awards.

“While the total pounds of weeds seems impressive, it does the program an injustice if you don’t also think in terms of the number of seeds that volunteers were able to keep from reaching the ground,” said U.S. Forest Service Rangeland Management Specialist Thad Berrett who heads the local program. “Using rough averages of seed production and figuring it takes about four plants to make a pound of weeds pulled, roughly six million seeds of houndstongue, 900 thousand knapweed seeds, and 540 million common mullein seeds were removed from the environment before they were able to enter the soil seed bank.”

Game and Fish has a contract with Johnson County Weed and Pest to compensate program participants who pull weeds on Game and Fish owned or administered properties in Johnson County such as the Bud Love Wildlife Habitat Management Area. Sheridan Region Habitat and Access Coordinator Seth Roseberry said he also encourages hunters and other recreationists using Game and Fish Commission-owned or administered lands to keep a watchful eye out for noxious weeds this fall.

“Invasive plants are a real threat to native rangeland health and diversity,” said Roseberry. “Many Game and Fish properties are managed to provide secure winter range habitat for wildlife and invasive plants can have significant impacts on forage availability for wildlife. In some cases, native forage production can be reduced by 50 to 70 percent when noxious weeds become established.”

Sheridan and Johnson county weed and pest offices have information about and photos of these plants on their websites to aid in identification. Some particularly detrimental plants are ventenata and medusahead, which have been identified in parts of northeast Wyoming. Sightings of these or other invasive weeds on Game and Fish properties can be reported to Roseberry at 307-672-7418 or through the Survey 123 app. Once downloaded, you can enter locations as a guest/without registration and you do not have to be in cell service to operate it. If you locate patches of invasive plants in other areas, please notify the  county weed and pest office.

Hunters and recreationists have a big part to play in reducing the spread of noxious weeds. By cleaning all potential carriers of mud and plant material every time they come in from the field, hunters can help ensure we limit the spread of these invasive plants from one favorite hunting location to another. This includes clothes, footwear, truck tires and undercarriage, recreational vehicles and dog paws and fur. 

At many public access areas, including Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas, local weed and pest agencies have provided cleaning stations for brushing off footwear. Anyone using these WHMAs is encouraged to use these stations before entering and after leaving the area.


 

- WGFD -


 
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