How To Write A Weed Management Plan

    “A plant that interferes with management objectives for a given point in time,” the dictionary definition of a noxious weed. (1)  More commonly defined as “a plant growing where you do not want it to.”  (2)  This is a user friendly, easy to understand paper on how to write a weed management plan for your land.
     Whether or not you realize it, every rural landowner in Montana needs a management plan.  (2)  Weeds are a large problem in today's world. (3)  The problem is estimated to be expanding at the rate of 4,600 acres a day, and is parallel to a “wildfire.” (3)  Before you sit down to write your weed management plan for your property, you need to make sketches of your land, and take a few notes about your property.  Once you've finished that, you need to establish goals.  Ask yourself questions such as what can my land support?  What do I really want to accomplish?  Livestock grazing?  Wildlife habitat?  Good water quality?  Fish?  And, many other questions similar to these. (2)
     Now that you've established your goals, you need to develop a management plan for accomplishing them.  Do not forget, even if you like the way things are, you are going to need to make a plan for keeping things that way. (2)  You need to “get to know your weeds” so to speak, before they cause water pollution, lessen the productivity of your land and pasture, kill forage for livestock and wildlife, and SPREAD! (2,3)
     A long term weed management plan is ideally 5-7 years long, and should be developed with a short term plan, usually lasting 1-3 years. (4)  The long term plan is a set of over all goals for the property. (4)  The short term tells how the objectives of the long term plan are implemented. (4)  The long term must set year-to-year priorities, while the short term plan director implementation of the long term plan in yearly increments. (4)  Last, circumstances and budgets may alter from year to year. (4)  These changes are to be made into a new short term plan, instead of writing the long term plan each year. (4)

* The following is slightly adapted from the Weed District Supervisors Handout*   A small landowner does not need as comprehensive a plan as outlined below, but should review this outline to be sure they have covered all areas pertinent to their ownership.

A. Guidelines for developing a weed management plan
  1.  Define purpose of weed management plan
   * Your need for action (4)
   *  The mission and direction for the property (4,5)
   *  Define and describe Weed Management Areas (2,4) 
       (With the sketches and notes from earlier)

  2.  Weed Management Areas
   *  Legal description and name
   *  Specify the boundaries
   *  Specify what the land is used for - mining, timbering,
       recreation, grazing, farming, etc.  Make sure you are specific.
       List crops, wood species that are timbered, and domestic
       animals, etc.
   *  Specify major aquatic features, topography, and other natural
   *  Specify native flora and wildlife
   *  Specify nuisance and noxious weeds that inhabit the area
   *  Specify endangered and threatened animals
   *  Recognize major cities, resorts, and towns
   *  Recognize Native American and archaeological cultural sites

  3.  Weed Management Priorities
   *  FIRST -  Prevention of potential invaders
   *  SECOND -  Intensive management or eradication of invading
                            and new species inside of a weed management area
   *  THIRD -  Management efforts on established stands

  4.  Define Long Term Objectives
Objectives need to answer all the needs of individual weed management areas, and probably will not need to address every aspect of noxious weed management listed below.  Also, the need for and prioritization of the objectives below will vary between different weed management areas.  Make sure you consider every one of these objectives, as success rate is highest when an integrated plan is developed and implemented.
    *  Step 1 -  Develop education, awareness, and education
    *  Step 2 -  Develop and maintain administration and funding
    *  Step 3 -  Develop and maintain an inventory
    *  Step 4 -  Develop prevention and early detection tactics
    *  Step 5 -  Implement integrated weed management plan
    *  Step 6 -  Develop and maintain monitoring and evaluation
    *  Step 7 -  Develop and maintain a reporting system

  5.  Identify Weeds of Concern
   *  List weed species and areas (numerical) infested
   *  Specify methods of introduction
   *  Describe “high risk” areas or “most likely” areas for future

  6.  Define Roles and Responsibilities
   *  List jurisdictions and agencies involved.  (Establish cooperation
       with landowners, towns, counties, residents, agencies,
       organizations, and states to effectively implement programs of
       prevention and control within the weed management area.)
   *  Identify signatures required
   *  Define planning timetable
   *  Specify time of termination and terms  (If applicable)
   *  Specify insurance or liabilities
   *  Specify resources and funding for weed management (4,5)

Integrated weed management is so important to ultimate success against noxious weeds that is deserves special attention.  IWM is based on the fact that strategies that are combined for weed management is much better than one strategy that is applied by itself.

Successful integrated weed management starts with your set plan.  Your IWM plan should include objectives to create an integrated weed management strategy for weeds that are in concern.

 For each target weed :
  1. Determine short term IWM methods and objectives
  2. Specify reference materials to be used in determining your IEM
  3. Specify effectiveness of IWM method on every weed
    *  Determine who will make the management recommendations
    *  Specify safety precautions to be implemented
    *  Determine who will implement your treatment program
    *  Determine the manpower and funding needed for management

IWM is based on the following FOUR general categories of management options:
  I. Cultural Control
  II. Physical Control
  III. Biological Control
  IV. Chemical Control
I. Cultural Control
Before any choices are considered, determine whether or not no action is an OK solution.  No action may be the right option is the following conditions are true:
   *  The problem will disappear without any action being done
   *  Laws and/or policies will not allow action
   *  The general public will not allow action
   *  There are threatened or endangered species or habitat
   *  Aquatic or other site factors prohibit action

   *  Determine whether or not policy and laws allow for the use of all
       preventive measures, including local quarantine and closure
   *  Establish education and awareness programs on new and/or
       invading species
   *  Specify activities in the county that might be a source of weed

Livestock Manipulation
   *  Determine if changes in your livestock's grazing habits will affect
       the target weeds.  Livestock grazing can be used to reduce seed
       production on some species, such as sheep on leafy spurge. The
       same is for reduced grazing.  You have to watch.  Reduced grazing
       could allow for increased competition from beneficial vegetation and
       slow spread of noxious weeds.
   *  Determine changes of moving or type of livestock (this may reduce
       or contain the infestation of spreading of the seeds due to them being
       stuck on or in the animals
   *  Determine if containing livestock prior to introduction into a weed
       free area would prevent new infestations

Wildlife Manipulation
   *  Determine if wildlife or wildlife feeding programs can help manage the
   *  Determine feasibility of changes in the wildlife's movement or feeding
       habits will help spread the weed, due to the seeds being stuck on or
       inside the animal

Seed Disturbance Activities
   *  Revegetate all bare soil following the disturbance
   *  Select only plant species that will reduce the spread of weeds
   *  Defer soil disturbance if possible until weeds are controlled or under
   *  Work with your local road department for revegetation of gravel pits
       or revegetation

Public Use
   *  Determine most feasible land use to prevent and reduce infestations
   *  Determine if certain public awareness programs might reduce the
       infestation or control the spread if weeds
   *  Determine how exclusion would affect the weed infestation, and if  it
       is even a possibility.

II.  Physical Control
Manual Control
   *  Determine is “grubbing” or hoeing will increase or reduce the
   *  Determine whether or not hand pulling the weeds, or target species is

Mechanical Control
   *  Inspect terrain to allow for mowing and determine if it is an
       acceptable option for the control of the spread of the seeds
   *  Inspect cultivation and other conventional farming practice options
       that could be utilized cost effectively

Control by Burning
   *  Determine if your terrain and vegetative cover allow for a controlled
       burn program
   *  Determine whether or not long term effect of burning on non target
       species will be effective
   *  Evaluate a controlled burn program for reduction of species
   *  Determine whether or not policy and laws allow controlled burning

III.  Biological Control
Natural Competition
   *  Determine if there are natural occurring agents that are within the
       ecosystem that can reduce the infestation
   *  Determine which of the elements affect the naturally occurring agents
    -  See if these elements can be altered to reduce the negative effect on
       these agents
    -  See if these elements can be enhanced the effectiveness of these
       specific agents on the weed infestation

  Introduced Competition
   *  Determine if biological control agents could be introduced into the
       ecosystem to reduce the amount of infestation on the site
   *  Determine the level of control that a certain biological control agent
       could have on the target species and whether or not it will provide
       an acceptable level of management of the infestation
   *  Make sure that the agent has been tested for adverse effects against
       all non target species that are in the management area
   *  Determine if the certain biological agent can live in the environment
       of the treatment area
   *  Determine whether or not policy and laws allow the treatment of
       biological control

 IV.  Chemical Control
   *  Determine whether or not chemical fertilization will reduce the
       amount of weeds by increasing the competition of important plant
   *  Determine whether or not increased nitrogen would reduce the
   *  Inspect the acceptability of herbicides to control the infestation of the
   *  See whether or not herbicides are labeled for:
            - use on that specific weed
            - use on the infected area
   *  Determine the most effective application techniques
   *  Determine the most effective cost-efficient types of equipment
   *  Determine if properly trained personnel are able to apply that specific
       herbicide (4)

Integrated Noxious Weed Management Plan
I.  Introduction
  A.  Purpose and Objectives of the Weed Management Plan
  B.  Mission and Direction
  C.  Definition of Weed Management Area

II.  Statement of the Weed Problem
  A.  List of state and county noxious weeds
  B.  Land administrative
  C.  Impacts of Weeds
  D.  Current acreage infested by land ownership

III.  Management Priorities
  A.  IPM approach to weed management
  B.  Building coalitions and cooperative weed management areas
  C.  Management priorities by species and area infested
       1. New Invaders - Not established
       2. New Invaders - Established
       3. Widespread Weeds
       4.  Transportation Corridors
  D.  Work Plan for Category 1, 2, and 3 noxious weeds

IV.  Integrated Weed Management Strategies and Methods
  A.  Prevention
  B.  Cultural
  C.  Mechanical/Physical
  D.  Chemical
  E.   Biological

V.  Overview of County, State and Federal Budgets
  A.  Sources of Funding

VI.  Roles and Responsibilities
  A.  Board of County Commissioners
  B.  County Weed Board
  C.  County Weed Control Personnel
  D.  Landowners

VII.  Appendices
This section may include supplemental documents such as:  Human & Environmental Safety and Spill Plan;  Revegetation Plan;  Inventory, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan & Methods;  Weed Control Agreement Forms; Complaint and Enforcement Procedures and Forms;  Non-compliance Policies, Letter, and Forms;  County Personnel Policy;  Contracting Policy;  Records and Reporting Procedures;  County Equipment Policy;  Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Program;  Current Noxious Weed Budget;  Current Annual Report;  County Weed Control Act. (4)

Who To Contact:  Montana-Weed-Fighters
 *  Water Rights Bureau of the Department of Natural  (406) 444-6610
      Resources and Conservation,  Helena
 *  Your County Conservation District
 *  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Helena   (406) 444-6670
 *  County Flood plan Coordinator or the Flood plan
     Management Section
 *  Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (406) 444-6654
 *  Your County Weed Control District
 *  You County Extension Office
 *  Your County Health Department or Planning Office
 *  Your City or County Planning Office
 *  Water Quality Bureau of the Department of Health and
     (406) 444-2406
 *   Environmental Sciences (DHES),  Helena
 *  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Helena   (406) 444-6670
 *  Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Helena  (406) 444-2449
 *  Department of State Lands, Missoula   (406) 542-4300
 *  Department of Livestock, Helena    (406) 444-2023  (4,5)

1. “Webster’s Dictionary” ;  Webster :  Landoll, Inc. Los Angeles, CA, pp. 137.

2.  Schumaker, Joan, “Tips on Land and Water Management for Small Farms and Ranches in Montana”, pamphlet, Color World Printers, Bozeman, Montana, pp. 1-9.

3. “Weed Management Plan”  [Online] Available: , Created: May 19, 1997, Last updated: May 19, 1997.

4. “Montana Weed District Supervisors Handbook”  Section X. Planning:  pp. X.A-1 - X.A-6.   Provided by: Dave Birch, Jefferson Co. Weed Supervisor.

5. Breitenfeldt, Todd, Personal Interview, Biology Teacher, Whitehall High School, Box 1109,
Whitehall, MT 59759 (406)-287-3862. 12-1-99.

Written and Published By:  Kenzie Cowling      2/20/2000 HOME