Educational: Biological, Demonstration.
Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant for 2003.
Link to Grant Format: See MT Weed Control Assoc.
IV. Description of Project
A. Project Title and Sponsor: Whitehall Project: Educational: Biological, demonstration. Sponsored by: Jefferson County Weed District, Weed Coordinator: Jay Cole. Contact Person: Todd Breitenfeldt.
1. Purpose: The project will: 1) mass rear biological control agents of spotted knapweed in insectaries for distribution, 2) GPS/GIS map and monitor biological control agent release sites in Jefferson and Madison Counties [with new emphasis on Madison County because of increased matching funding from Madison County Weed board this year], 3) collect, distribute and redistribute 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: The Whitehall Insectary/Greenhouse/Mapping 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: 1) a model educational/demonstration project including two teachers and 3 students, 2) 6 knapweed insectaries, 3) over 320 bioagent release sites, 4) three other projects modeled from this one [Townsend, Augusta, and Warm Springs], 5) greater expansion into Madison County this 2003 field season, 6) the planned added focus on Dalmatian toadflax bioagents this upcoming field season, and 7) a weekly summer newspaper column about noxious weeds and the project in the local paper(s).
Importance: Education and biocontrol are two of the many tools in the IPM tool box. This project enhances both of these tools for Jefferson and Madison Counties and serves as a model for other counties and groups. Two teachers and 3 students dedicate their summer to this project and have great pride in the success of the project. This type of work ethics and enthusiasm keep improving the project each year. The importance of this project to Jefferson County and Madison County is unmeasurable due to the hundreds of biocontrol releases, educated landowners and students, and the mapping, monitoring, and redistributing of bioagents. Spotted knapweed and leafy spurge (the major focus of the project so far) are two 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. Several local ranchers note a marked decrease in their herbicide use on leafy spurge because of flea beetle success. 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 to collect (all the sites we have used in the past have been sprayed and pulled out or have release sites). This program has an important future in contributing to our noxious weed control tool box through education and the proliferation of biological control agents. It is the goal of this writer to have a knapweed insectary associated with a school, in every county in Montana!
If Nothing Is Done: If this project is not funded, all the work of the past will be lost. The insectary will have to be sprayed out, the educational benefits will be decreased, and Jefferson and Madison Counties may miss out on the collection of usable "bursts" of bioagents in the field. The private land owners in the area will miss out on the usual site monitoring that they have come to expect.
2. Cooperative Participation: Cooperators include: 1) Jefferson County Weed District, 2) Madison County Weed District, 3) BLM - Dillon and Butte Field Offices, 4) Golden Sunlight Mine, 5) Whitehall Schools, 6) many private land owners, and 7) USDA Forest Service.
1) Continued to maintain and improve the insectaries at Whitehall High School (WHS) where we are mass rearing two species of Biological control insects for spotted knapweed (the root boring weevil Cyphocleonus achates [over 3000 in '01 and 1011 in '02] and the root boring moth Agapeta zoegana [400-500 per yr.]) in insectaries for release.
2) We have now GPS mapped over 320 release sites located in Jefferson, northern Madison, and a few in Sivlerbow and Broadwater Counties. This involves over 110 land owners including individuals, local government, industries and public land management agencies. We also maintain accurate, easy to follow directions, photos and maps to the sites and monitor a number of select biocontrol release sites each year.
3) We contacted many land owners (over 110) who have biocontrol release sites to educate them about IPM and to monitor and redistribute the biocontrol agents as the owners see fit.
4) We collected and redistributed biocontrol agents from established field release sites:
Oberea erythrocephala: 1567 for about 22 releases/augments of 70 beetles (500 collected by public on net day).
Larinus minutus: 7840 for about 39 releases of 200 weevils each (2400 collected by public on net day).
Aphthona spp.: collected a total of 535,000 of which 234,000 were released into Jefferson and Madison Counties in about 78 releases/augments of 3000 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.
5) We located suitable release sites and made the releases for our collections and when the counties receive biocontrol releases from outside sources.
6) We held public collection (net) days open to county residents for Oberea, Larinus and the Aphthona leafy spurge flea beetles.
7) We held educational tours (over 10), and work shops (Biocontrol Release Site Monitoring and Knapweed Insectary Construction and Maintenance).
8) We were invited to speak at the: 1) Invasive Species Control and Wildland Fire Management training session in Denver, April 22-25, 2002. Todd Breitenfeldt presented a 45 min. training Power Point session on the program, 2) Jefferson and Madison County Weed District meetings, 3) Jefferson Valley, Madison and Gallatin Conservation District meetings, 4) teacher conventions, along with helping to staff a Forest Service booth, 5) will be presenting at the MWCA annual meeting (mtwow.org will have a booth in conjunction with the Townsend Schools Project and WHS students will help as "gofers" for the MWCA at the meeting this year), and 6) a Forest Service training session in March of this year in Missoula.
9) We are helping 3 other groups start programs similar to ours:
A) Augusta: the vo. ag. teacher/classes have constructed a knapweed insectary and we provided 70 Cyphocleonus achates for their program. They are also utilizing their greenhouse and will be biocontrol release site mapping. The teacher and a number of his students came and toured our program here in Whitehall and Todd Breitenfeldt went to Augusta to advise and give a presentation. The vo. ag. teacher Justin Becktold and his student summer helper met us at Grassrange on July 9th and we helped them collect 18 releases (54,000) of leafy spurge flea beetles. Many groups and agencies are cooperating to fund this program, including the Lewis and Clark County Weed Board, School, and Conservation District in that area.
B) Townsend: The elementary and high school are cooperating with the Forest Service (they have a Forest Service grant) and have built a knapweed insectary and have added much noxious weed education to their curriculum. They have toured our program here several times and we are providing Cyphocleonus achates and technical advice. They also came to our summer work shop and took home 10 releases of flea beetles. We will be cooperating on various noxious weed educational projects.
C) Warm Springs: Two state game range managers and Anaconda/Deer Lodge weed Coordinator are cooperating and have constructed a knapweed insectary. They have toured our program often and we will provide Cyphocleonus achates to them as needed and technical advice. We also plan to cooperate on several biocontrol agent collection days. One of their staff came with us to the Two Dot collection site and we helped her collect 54 releases of 3000 flea beetles each for a total of about 162,000 insects for their program. They also plan to create an insectary at the prison in Deerlodge using prison labor.
10) Produce a weekly summer column (Whitehall Weed Whackers) about noxious weed control in the Whitehall Ledger featuring what we were doing with the project and selected articles from the mtwow.org web site written by WHS students. [See some of the articles attached.]
11) Tied all this activity into weed education at Whitehall High School and placed much noxious weed how-to information on the mtwow.org web site for all to use.
12) Brought together many aspects of the community (students, general public, land owners, industry, town, Whitehall Town Council [helped the Town create a Noxious Weed Ordinance and a Cooperative Weed Management Agreement with the Jefferson County Weed District and helped pass the new weed mil levy], county, state and federal governments and land management agencies) to increase weed awareness and weed fighting efforts.
13) Created 2 quality summer jobs for teachers and 2.5 good quality jobs for high school students that provide scientific field and lab experience, a work/service ethic, fun and good pay for a good cause.
3. Location of Project Area: Jefferson and Madison Counties (and other cooperators lands as requested). This year we will put much more emphasis on ALL of Madison County rather than just the Northern area close to Whitehall. This is at the request of the Madison County Weed Board.
1) mass rear two species of biological control insects for spotted knapweed (the root boring weevil Cyphocleonus achates (1000-3000) and the root boring moth Agapeta zoegana (400-500)) in insectaries for release to help control spotted knapweed.
2) monitor, release, and redistribute over 20 other species of biocontrol agents.
3) provide easy to locate records and photos of all release sites in Jefferson and North Madison Counties using GPS units, GIS computer mapping and paper records maintained at each County and at Whitehall High School (WHS).
4) provide yearly contact with owners who have release sites and these owners can decide on the type of activity they would like on their sites including: no monitoring, monitoring, redistribution on their land or other sites, and/or a net (public) collection day is numbers warrant.
5) collection and redistribution/release of biocontrol agents throughout the Counties and if numbers warrant, to other areas within Montana.
6) hold net days where land owners within the Counties can come collect biocontrol agents for redistribution onto their property as they see fit. This provides them with "ownership" in the release as well as providing to us a chance to educate, educate, educate!
7) provide educational tours, classes and work shops about weed control and produce a weekly summer column (Whitehall Weed Whackers) educating people about noxious weed control in the Whitehall Ledger. This will be expanded to the Boulder Monitor and the Madisonian in 2003.
8) bring together all aspects of the community (WHS students, general public, land owners, industry, city, county, state and federal governments and land management agencies) to increase weed awareness and fight weeds.
9) create 3 good quality jobs for high school students that provide scientific field experience, a work/service ethic, fun and good pay. Also, two summer jobs for WHS teachers.
10) provide a model for other programs of this nature and facilitate their start up.
Supports State and County Weed Management Plans: The Whitehall Project provides educational 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 funds.
V. Specific Objectives and Methodology:
1) To continue to maintain and improve the insectaries at Whitehall High School (WHS) where we mass rear two species of Biological control insects for spotted knapweed (the root boring weevil Cyphocleonus achates and the root boring moth Agapeta zoegana) in insectaries for release.
2) To mass rear two toadflax eating biocontrol agents (Mecinus janthinus and Eteobalea intermediella) in 6' x 6' x 12' insect cages set up within toadflax infestations near Boulder. We have the five insect cages and will collect or receive these insects from US and Canadian sources.
3) To GPS map (and maintain accurate, easy to follow directions to the sites), photograph and monitor all biocontrol release sites in Jefferson County and Madison County.
4) To yearly contact all land owners who have mapped biocontrol release sites to educate them about IPM and to monitor and redistribute the biocontrol agents as the owners see fit.
5) To collect and redistribute biocontrol agents throughout Jefferson and Madison Counties and to make several out of county collection trips if numbers warrant.
6) To locate suitable release sites and make the releases when the counties produce or receive biocontrol releases from outside sources.
7) To hold public collection (net) days open to county residents and if numbers warrant for other needy parties where people can collect biocontrol agents them selves (which gives them "ownership" in the release) and take them home to their land for release as they see fit. Out of area owners will be charged prices similar to commercial amounts to help defray costs of this program.
8) To hold educational tours, classes and work shops about weed control and produce a weekly summer column (Whitehall Weed Whackers) about noxious weed control in the Whitehall Ledger.
9) To tie all this activity into weed education at Whitehall High School and the mtwow.org web site.
10) To bring together all aspects of the community (students, general public, land owners, industry, city, county, state and federal governments and land management agencies) to increase weed awareness and fight weeds.
11) To serve as an educational model and to help facilitate the start up of other similar projects.
12) To create 3 good quality jobs for high school students that provide scientific field experience, a work/service ethic, fun and good pay.
B. Plan of Work: (Numbers 1, 2 and 3 may not all apply)
This ongoing project has been administered by the Jefferson County Weed District through the Weed Board and the Jefferson County Weed Coordinators, Jay Cole, Kim Johnson, Dave Burch, and Pat Kountz, out of the County Seat in Boulder. Last year the project received an HB223 grant through the Jefferson Valley Conservation District. Before this the Project was funded by the Noxious Weed Trust Fund and grant Cooperators. 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 all hired as Jefferson County employees. This crew is based out of the High School Science room and lab room at WHS and maintains the greenhouse and insectaries on WHS property. The crew uses their own vehicles for travel and are paid milage. Communications are maintained between Jefferson/Madison Counties, Whitehall, and all parties involved via E-mail, land line phone calls and cell phone calls, along with periodic visits and inspections. A monthly bill is turned in to the administering agency.
4. Education Programs: The major focus of this project is the demonstration of a successful set of weed fighting strategies. Education includes: 1) Noxious weed curriculum at WHS, 2) the mtwow.org web site, 3) project tours - anybody welcomed any time!, 4) planned 3-day how-to for credit work shop for teachers and Weed District Coordinators, 5) speak at Jefferson and Madison County Weed District meetings, 6) speak at Jefferson Valley, Madison and Gallatin Conservation District and Headwaters RC&D Range Weed meetings, 7) speak at teacher conventions, along with helping to staff a Forest Service booth, 8) present at the MWCA annual meeting (mtwow.org will have a booth in conjunction with the Townsend Schools Project and the students will help as "gofers" at the meeting), and 9) a Forest Service training session. Educate land owners during monitoring of their release sites and net days.
5. Data Analysis: The teachers and crew will organize the release site data. Mr. Breitenfeldt will see that copies of these release site data end up with each County and at the school.
C. Cooperative Agreements:
1. Jefferson County Weed District: will administer the grant and hire the 5 employees as they have done for over a decade. [see attached letters].
2. Madison County Weed District: In the past the program has "slopped" into northern Madison County because of high land owner interest as the heavy leafy spurge infestation occurs along the border. Madison County did not provide much specific financial support to the project. This year however, the Madison County Weed Board wants to increase the biological component of their grant project and map all the County biorelease sites and start a monitoring/redistribution program. We have upped the mileage and increased the 3rd student employee from ½ time to full time to address this need. [see attached letters].
3. BLM - Dillon & Butte Field Offices: The Butte Field Office has a traditional cooperative agreement with the Jefferson County Weed District in support of the Whitehall Project. This year the Dillon Field Office joined with Madison County in contributing funds to the Project.
4. Golden Sunlight Mine: The mine has traditionally contributed funds and we provide them with several releases of insects. This year there is doubt about the mine staying open so the usual funds are not included in the grant at this time.
5) Whitehall Schools: The school provides a lab and classroom, computers, power and water for the project, greenhouse and insectaries plus some equipment, all as matching. The school even considered being the hiring entity this year but, their accountant would not let them.
6) Many private land owners: We ask for letters of support every other year (so as not to over burden the owners) so please see last years letters attached.
7) USDA Forest Service: 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) and insectary numbers bounce up and down depending on how hard the plants have been impacted by the root borers each year. The Jefferson and Madison County Weed Coordinators will monitor the program.
IV. Time Schedule:
A. Time Frames:
School Year: The Biology students will work on the mtwow.org web site and attend the MWCA annual convention. The Horticulture class will use the greenhouse 2nd semester.
Late Winter: Interview and hire 3 Whitehall Students. 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. 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 near Boulder for Dalmatian toadflax insects.
Summer: Call all land owners with releases (over 110) and ask them what they want done this year with their sites, and do so. Make a list of land owners who want biocontrol releases. Prioritize release site (over 320) 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 25 biocontrol species. GPS map and maintain data base of all release sites for Jefferson and Madison Counties. Place more emphasis on all of Madison County as they are providing more matching funds this year, as instructed by the Madison County Weed Coordinator Kelly Leo. Release and monitor toadflax insects into cages near Boulder. 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.]. 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 County wide coverage. Plan and lead tours, classes, field trips and workshops about the project and weed control 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 WHS students help collect weevils from insectaries and help with redistribution. Finalize summer data base and distribute to both Counties. Take down insect cages near Boulder. Collect any outstanding bills for out of county insect releases.
Fall: WHS students collect and release last of 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.
B. Long-Term Commitment: To have established 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.
VII. Supporting Documents:
-Letters from cooperators
-Letters from biorelease site owners
-Example biorelease site map
-List of biorelease data (please keep the GPS data confidential!)
-Example Whitehall Weed Whacker articles from the Whitehall Ledger
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