2005 NWTF NRCS Grant Text
Whitehall, Harrison & Ennis Biocontrol
Educational: Biological, Demonstration
IV. Description of Project
Project Title and Sponsor: Whitehall, Harrison & Ennis Biocontrol
Project: Educational: Biological, Demonstration. Sponsored by: Madison
County Weed District, Weed Coordinator: Bob Wagner. Contact Person:
Todd Breitenfeldt, Whitehall Biological Weed Control Project, Inc. (nonprofit,
Filing number: D127944 – 494918).
1. Purpose: The project will: 1) mass rear biological
control agents of spotted knapweed in insectaries in Whitehall, Harrison
and Ennis, MT for distribution, 2) GPS/GIS map and monitor biological control
agent release sites in Madison and Jefferson Counties, 3) collect, distribute
and redistribute (augment) biological control agents, 4) educate and cooperate
with all private and public weed fighters, and 5) facilitate the start up
of other similar projects through demonstration, tours and work shops both
on and offsite.
History: This Project started in the early 1990's through the
efforts of then Jefferson County Weed Supervisor Pat Kountz and Whitehall
Science Teacher Todd Breitenfeldt. This successful cooperative project
has grown from a volunteer project with one small insectary, a greenhouse,
and a few release sites to a model educational/demonstration project including
two teachers and 3 students in Whitehall, 7 knapweed insectaries in Whitehall,
over 450 bioagent release sites, other projects modeled after this one, and
a weekly summer newspaper column about noxious weeds and the project in several
local news papers.
Importance: Education and biocontrol are two of
the many tools in the IPM toolbox. This project enhances both of these
tools for Madison and Jefferson Counties and serves as a model for other
counties and groups. The importance of this project to Madison County
and Jefferson County is large due to the hundreds of biocontrol releases,
educated landowners and students, and the mapping, monitoring, and redistributing
of bioagents. Spotted/diffuse knapweed, leafy spurge, and Dalmatian/yellow
toadflax (the major focus of the project so far) are five weeds that reduce
production for farmers and ranchers, decrease habitat for wildlife, and add
a financial burden for landowners. The Whitehall project is a way for
landowners to reduce noxious weed populations with little or no financial
burden. We are also having trouble finding large patches of mature
spotted knapweed plants to transplant into our insectaries in our Southern
Jefferson County area and must travel into Butte or Harrison to collect (all
the sites we have used in the past have been sprayed and pulled out or have
bioagent release sites).
If Nothing Is Done: If this project is not funded,
the work of the past will be lost and the potential insects produced from
the insectaries and local release sites will be wasted. The insectary
will have to be sprayed out, the educational benefits will be decreased,
and Jefferson and Madison Counties, and the other Montana Counties that receive
insects from our collections may miss out on the collection of usable “bursts”
of bioagents in the field. The private landowners in the area will
miss out on the usual site monitoring, redistribution of bioagents and educational
contact that they have come to rely on. The educational benefits that
occur at teacher conventions, workshops, and by bringing students to the
MWCA annual meeting will be lost.
2. Cooperative Participation: Cooperators include:
1) Madison County Weed District, 2) Jefferson County Weed District, 3) BLM
- Dillon and Butte Field Offices, 4) Whitehall Schools, 5) many private land
owners (over 120), 6) USDA Forest Service, 7) The Nature Conservancy, 8)
the Madison Valley Ranch Lands Weed Group, and 9) USDA, APHIS, PPQ.
Because Jefferson County has had budgetary problems for
several years it was decided to form a nonprofit corporation: Whitehall Biological
Weed Control Project, Inc. and run the funding of this nonprofit corporation
through Madison County for 2004.
1) Educational: We contacted many landowners
(over 120) to educate them about IPM and to monitor and redistribute their
biocontrol agents. We held educational tours and workshops (over 10),
produce a weekly summer column (Whitehall Weed Whackers) about noxious weed
control in several local papers featuring the project and selected articles
from the mtwow.org web site written by WHS students. [See some of the articles
attached.] We spoke, taught or had booths at over 10 organization meetings.
Tied all this activity into weed education at Whitehall High School and placed
much noxious weed howto information on the mtwow.org web site for all to
2) Establish New Programs: We have helped start
similar independent programs in: Townsend, Augusta, and Warm Springs and
are planning new cooperative programs in Harrison and Ennis.
3) Collection, Mass Rearing, and Redistribution
of Biocontrol Agents: We collect from field sites, mass rear in
insectaries, locate release sites, and redistribute bioagents as the owners
see fit. We hold public collection (net) days (5). [see attached
for bioagent collection history].
4) Mapping: We GPS/GIS map all release sites
(over 450) and keep photos and electronic and paper data at each County and
5) Cooperation: We brought together many aspects
of the community (students, general public, landowners, industry, town, county,
state and federal governments and land management agencies) to increase weed
awareness and weed fighting efforts.
3. Location of Project Area: Madison and Jefferson
Counties (and other cooperators lands as requested). Insectaries located
at Whitehall, Harrison and Ennis Schools. Also, provide insects to
MT Counties (28 in 2003) and Washington State in conjunction with USDA, APHIS,
1) Educational: We will contact landowners to educate
them about IPM and to monitor and redistribute their biocontrol agents.
We will hold educational tours and workshops, produce a weekly summer column
(Whitehall Weed Whackers) about noxious weed control in several local papers
featuring the project and selected articles from the mtwow.org web site written
by WHS students. [See some of the articles attached.] We will speak,
teach and/or have booths at many organization meetings. And, tie all
this activity into weed education at Whitehall, Harrison and Ennis High Schools.
We will continue to place much noxious weed howto information on the mtwow.org
web site for all to use.
2) Establish New Programs: We will continue to help existing programs
and will set up and train the personal at Harrison and Ennis Schools.
We will hold a 3-day for credit workshop Aug. 9-11, 2004 (funded by an HB-223
grant from Jefferson Valley Conservation District) all about how to duplicate
3) Collection, Mass Rearing, and Redistribution of Biocontrol Agents:
We will continue to pursue these activities as directed by the Counties and
land owners. We will continue to cooperate with USDA, APHIS, PPQ and
the Montana State Biocontrol efforts to provide extra bioagents to other
Counties. [See attached for bioagent collection history]
4) Mapping: We will provide easy to locate records and photos
of all release sites in Jefferson and Madison Counties using GPS units, GIS
computer mapping and paper records maintained at each County Weed District
and High School.
5) Cooperation: We will continue to work with our traditional
cooperators and attempt to foster more cooperation within the Counties and
Supports State and County Weed Management Plans: The Whitehall
Project provides educational, mapping, and cooperative benefits as well as
biocontrol efforts for the “IPM tool chest” as mentioned in the State and
County Weed Management Plans.
5. & 6. Not applying for FWP or Cooperative Forestry Assistance
V. Specific Objectives and Methodology:
1) Educational: To train one teacher and student each at Harrison
and Ennis Schools to replicate the complete program including a knapweed
insectary at each school. The goal for Harrison and Ennis is to make
them self-sufficient as soon as possible. To provide tours, classes,
workshops, newspaper articles, and talks about the program and IPM.
To yearly contact all landowners who have mapped biocontrol release sites
to educate them about IPM. To tie all this activity into weed
education at the Schools and on the mtwow.org web site. This includes
Teacher Conventions and the annual MWCA meeting.
2) Establish New Programs: To continue to advise similar
programs. To add Harrison and Ennis schools to the complete program
with insectaries at each school. To provide a class and how-to information
for others who wish to replicate all or parts of the program. To provide
insects to new programs, if available.
3) Collection, Mass Rearing, and Redistribution of Biocontrol Agents:
To continue to collect, mass rear, and redistribute bioagents. Also,
monitor and augment existing release sites. Major emphasis will be
placed on bioagents for: leafy spurge, spotted/diffuse knapweed, and Dalmation/yellow
toadflax. To make several out of County collection trips including:
1) Washington State with USDA, APHIS, PPQ to collect toadflax stem borers,
and 2) Grassrange area with the Dillon BLM to collect leafy spurge flea beetles.
However, the emphasis will be on in-Counties collections and public collection.
[See attached for bioagent collection history]. All out of county bioagent
recipients will be charged for their insects and in Counties land owners
will be asked to make a voluntary donation to the program.
4) Mapping: To GPS/GIS map (and maintain accurate, easy
to follow directions to the sites), photograph and monitor biocontrol release
sites in Madison and Jefferson Counties.
5) Cooperation: To bring together all aspects of the community
(students, general public, landowners, industry, city, county, state and
federal governments and land management agencies) to increase weed awareness
and control weeds.
B. Plan of Work: (Numbers 1, 2 and 3 may not all
The Project Sponsor is Madison County. The funds will be administered
and hiring will be done by the nonprofit corporation: Whitehall Biological
Weed Control Project, Inc.
Todd Breitenfeldt the Whitehall Project Biocontrol Coordinator and WHS science
teacher directly supervises and works with a crew of another WHS teacher
and 3 WHS students. This crew is based out of the Whitehall High School
Science room and lab room at WHS and maintains the greenhouse and insectaries
on WHS property. The Whitehall crew will help the teachers and students
based at Harrison and Ennis construct insectaries and supervise and train
them on all activities involved to meet the goals of the project.
The crews use their own vehicles for travel and are paid mileage. Communications
are maintained between Jefferson/Madison Counties, Whitehall, Ennis, Harrison
and all parties involved via Email and phone calls, along with periodic
visits and inspections by the counties. A monthly report will be submitted
to Madison County.
4. Education Programs: A major focus of this project
is the demonstration of a successful set of weed fighting strategies.
This will include project tours, how-to classes, newspaper articles, speaking
at organization meetings, and of course land owner education, education,
5. Data Analysis: The teachers and crew will organize
the collection and release site data. Mr. Breitenfeldt will see that
copies of these data end up with each County, school and interested cooperator.
C. Cooperative Agreements:
1. Madison County Weed District: will be Project Sponsor
and will cooperate with the Whitehall Biological Weed Control Project, Inc.,
a nonprofit organization.
2. Whitehall Biological Weed Control Project, Inc.:
will administer the project funds through a local bank using a local accountant.
Four teachers and 5 students will be employed.
3. Jefferson County Weed District: will provide the equipment
the project has purchased in the past.
4. BLM - Dillon & Butte Field Offices: The Butte Field Office
has a cooperative agreement with Whitehall Biological Weed Control Project,
Inc.. The Dillon Field Office joined with Madison County in cooperating
with the Project.
4. Whitehall, Harrison and Ennis Schools: The schools provide
a lab/classroom, computers, power, land and water for the project, greenhouse
and insectaries plus some equipment, all as matching.
6. Over 120 private landowners: Have come to rely on the services
provided by the project.
7. USDA Forest Service: Helped in 2003 as
14 fire crewmembers pulled and transplanted knapweed (7000+ plants)
from Butte into 2 reworked insectaries and 1 new insectary in Whitehall.
We have and will cooperate on several educational efforts. We also
monitor many of their biorelease sites in Jefferson and Madison Counties.
They usually have an employee drive with us to these sites each year.
D. Evaluation: Success will be measured by meeting
or surpassing the goals listed above. Field collected insect numbers
should increase each year (depending on the weather, site history, land management,
etc.) and insectary numbers bounce up and down depending on how hard the
plants have been impacted by the root borers each year. The Madison
and Jefferson County Weed Districts and, Butte and Dillon BLM will monitor
IV. Time Schedule:
A. Time Frames:
School Year: The Biology students will work on the mtwow.org web
site (now self funded) and attend the MWCA annual convention. The Horticulture
class will use the greenhouse 2nd semester.
Late Winter: Interview and hire 3 Whitehall Students and one each
from Harrison and Ennis. The Harrison and Ennis teachers have already
been chosen and are excited about beginning the project. Grow example
weeds for summer demonstrations.
Spring: Repair winter damage to insectaries and greenhouse.
Late Spring: Fix/replace flashing and till and prepare insectary
beds for transplanting. Create new insectaries in Harrison and Ennis.
Transplant knapweed plants into the insectaries to replace the ones killed
by the weevils and moths. Water, weed, and fertilize these plants until
fall. Set up cages in insectaries or at field site releases.
Summer: Call all landowners with releases (over 120) and ask them
what they want done this year with their sites, and do so. Make a list
of landowners who want biocontrol releases. Prioritize release sites
(over 420) monitoring schedule to: 1) meet land owners schedules, 2) increase
probability of finding sites with high numbers of biocontrol agents for potential
net (collection for redistribution) days, and 3) match times with insect
life cycles and the effects of weather on over 20 biocontrol species.
GPS map and maintain a database of all release sites. Train Harrison
and Ennis crews. Set up net days for public to collect excess biocontrol
agents for redistribution. Collect and redistribute biocontrol agents
as available [Oberea erythrocephala, Larinus minutus, Aphthona spp.,
Cyphocleonus achates, Agapeta zoegana, Sphenoptera jugoslavica, and Mecinus
janthinus.] Ship biocontrol agent releases to weed fighters who attended
the weed education workshop and other needy parties throughout Montana.
Plan release sites to maximize chances of biocontrol agent establishment
and spread, as well as Countywide coverage. Plan and lead tours, classes,
field trips and workshops about the project and weed control/IPM in general.
Facilitate the start up and continuance of other similar programs.
Final preparation of insectaries for emergence of moths and weevils.
Hand collect moths and weevils out of insectaries for distribution.
Release insects received by the Counties from outside sources. Help
with general County weed fighting activities as needed. Update maps.
Late Summer: Have classes of students help collect weevils from
insectaries and help with redistribution. Finalize summer database
and distribute to Counties and schools. Take down insect cages.
Collect any outstanding bills for out of county insect releases.
Fall: WHS students collect and release weevils from insectaries.
Winterize greenhouse. Present weed education workshop at Teacher Conventions
in October including releases to teachers willing to use biocontrol agents
in their educational curriculum. Winterize insectaries in November.
Winter: Attend MWCA annual convention with several students.
B. Long-Term Commitment: To have well established
and expanding biorelease sites in all large noxious weed patches and management
areas within both Counties and to monitor these sites to take advantage of
bursts of usable insects. To serve as a demonstration site and spring
board for new and continuing projects of a similar nature. To enhance
noxious weed control education and awareness. To meet the goals of
the Montana State Noxious Weed Plan. To increase funding from local
VII. Supporting Documents:
-Bioagent Collection Numbers History.
- Market Value of Bioagents Distributed in 2003.
-Letters of support from cooperators and biorelease site
-Example Weed Whacker articles from newspapers.
Bioagent Collection Numbers History:
2000 = 250
2001 = 500
2002 = 1,567 (500 collected by
public on net day)
2003 = 3,160 (over 800
collected by public on net days, often mixed with flea beetles).
2002 = 7,840 (2,400 collected
by public on net day)
2003 = 17,468 (3,000 collected by public on net day, ARS
collected with us and shipped weevils to 28 MT counties and Washington State).
Our collection site looks to be even better next year if the number of damaged
seed heads is any indication.
2002 = 535,000 (over half collected on a Grassrange trip) of which
234,000 were released into Jefferson and Madison Counties in about 78 releases/augments
of 3,000 flea beetles each. The remaining flea beetles went to the
BLM, and the three new programs like ours in Augusta, Townsend and Warm Springs
(the State game ranges near Anaconda and Deerlodge). Therefore, 138
new area releases or augments were created just within the 2 Counties.
2003 = 252,000 We did not go to Grassrange to collect however, 108,000 of
these were brought to our net day by ARS. Therefore, 144,000 were collected
locally, many by the public at net collection days. Several of our
A. lacertosa sites are just ready to really take off and produce large numbers
in 2004/5. We have a collection trip planned with Dillon BLM to the
Grassrange area for 2004.
2001 = 3,381
2002 = 1,011
2003 = 2,272 (expanded and replanted insectaries should produce more
in the next 2 yrs.)
2001 = 500
2002 = 500
2003 = 700 (these numbers seem to hold quite steady, all
collected out of the insectaries).
2003 = 7 (collected in Helena area along with 3000 Larinus
minutus. We are planning to collect more of these next year.).
2003 = 500 (received from Washington State. We are planning a trip
to WA with USDA, APHIS, PPQ to collect many of these in 2004.).
Market Value of Bioagents Distributed in
Aphthona spp.: 252,000/500 = 504 releases of 500 @ $50 = $25,200
Oberea erythrocephala: 3160/110 = 29 releases of 110 @ $225 = $6,525
Larinus minutus: 17,468/105 = 166 releases of 110 @ $100 = $16,600
Cyphocleonus achates: 2,272/105 = 22 releases of 105 @ $105 =
Agapeta zoegana: 700/105 = 6 releases of 105 @ $200 = $1,200