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Gros Ventre River Spray Days 2018

2018 Gros Ventre River Spray Days

19th Annual JHWMA Gros Ventre River Spray Days: 3 days, 40 people

The Jackson Hole Weed Management Association (JHWMA) hosted the 19th Annual Cooperative Noxious Weed Spray Days (July 17-19, 2018).  Volunteers came from all around Teton County and as far away as Idaho Falls to team up for invasive species weed control along the Gros Ventre River.  Organized by Grand Teton National park and Teton County Weed and Pest District, the group targeted spotted knapweed, Dalmatian toadflax and perennial pepperweed (click on weeds to learn more about these invasive species) on public lands along the river corridor.  The invasive weeds treated compete with native vegetation, adversely impacting wildlife habitat, and transforming ecosystem function.

Gros Ventre River Spray Days 2018 - Invasive Species Control

The first indication of knapweed on the Gros Ventre River is briefly discussed in minutes from a Weed and Pest District Board meeting in 1974, though the exact location is not mentioned.  In 1999, JHWMA partners decided it was important to begin recording the presence of noxious weeds throughout Teton County. The Gros Ventre River from the Goosewing Ranch area to the confluence with the Snake River was surveyed as part of this effort. At that time, spotted knapweed was only located as far upstream as the Forest/Park boundary. No other infestations were identified upstream (east) of this location. This prompted the beginning of what is now known as the JHWMA’s Annual Gros Ventre River Spray Days project.

Gros Ventre River Spray Days 2018 - Invasive Species Control

In 2000, crews from Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger Teton National Forest, Teton County Weed and Pest, and the National Elk Refuge began targeting spotted knapweed along the river corridor in the hopes of reducing and containing the infestation and keeping the infestation from spreading further east into the Gros Ventre area.  Despite these efforts, in 2001 spotted knapweed was found between the Forest/Park boundary and Lower Slide Like on the Gros Ventre Road. Then in 2008, it was found in the campground at Lower Slide Lake. This indicates that in addition to traveling downstream, knapweed is also traveling up the road with humans (vehicles, horses, snowmobiles, UTV’s, etc).  This movement highlights the importance of public awareness of how we can prevent the spread of invasive species to our favorite recreation areas by following PlayCleanGo (www.playcleango.org) principles.

Gros Ventre River Spray Days continues to be integral to the protection of wildlife habitat in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. Unfortunately, the spotted knapweed infestation is so extensive in this corridor that it will never be eradicated. However, with careful planning and targeted treatments, JHWMA partners are containing and reducing the infestation. Annually, crews treat roughly 50-100 acres of invasive species in this 1,200+ acre project area, thanks to grant funding and dedicated funding from agencies.

Gros Ventre River Spray Days 2018 - Invasive Species Control

Agencies, organizations, and businesses that have assisted with the project over the years include but are not limited to:

Fremont, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, and Teton County Weed and Pest Districts in Wyoming, Bonneville and Teton County Weed Districts in Idaho, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, Boreal Property Management, Jackson Hole Property Services, Intermountain Aquatics, the Bridger-Teton, Custer Galatian, and Shoshone National Forests, the National Elk Refuge, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as the National Park Service – Northern Rockies Exotic Plant Management Team.  The Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Department of State Lands, Jackson Hole Land Trust, Hanna Outfitting, Gros Ventre River Ranch, Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, Teton Conservation District and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The JHWMA was formed in 1998 to establish common long and short-term management policies, goals, and objectives necessary for cooperatively managing and funding noxious weed activities across all jurisdictional boundaries.  To learn more about the JHWMA, please visit www.jhwma.org.

 

Why TCWP Doesn’t Help With All Weeds/Pests And Who You Can Call For Help

Do you know who to call for all the various weeds & pests in Teton County?

With a name like “Teton County Weed and Pest” it is understandable that we would get calls about every household or yard problem imaginable. During a typical week, we may field calls from people complaining about rodents, bedbugs, giant ant hills, mysterious growths on aspen leaves, beavers girdling cottonwood trees, skunks under the porch, raccoons eating the cat food, dandelions going to seed in a neighbor’s yard, and of course, thistles, and mosquitoes.

Despite our title, TCWP does not have the solution for all of these problems.

Though it is frustrating to see a field of salsify prepared to blow seeds into your yard, this plant is not considered “noxious” and TCWP cannot require that it be treated.

 

Eriophyid mites cause leaf deformities on many ornamental plants. This is one of the many native “pests” that TCWP does not manage. But we know a few people who do, check our 2018 contact list.

What Teton County Weed & Pest Is:

TCWP is a county government district office under the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) that is tasked with developing programs to manage a finite number of plant and animal species that the WDA has designated “noxious” because they are ecologically or economically harmful to the state.

Field Bindweed Mountain Pine Beetles
Field Bindweed and Mountain Pine Beetles are designated noxious species in Wyoming because they are considered economically and ecologically harmful to the state.

In addition to these “designated” weed and pest species, Teton County has officially declared additional weed and pest species as noxious in our county. We receive funding from the WDA and taxpayers to develop programs for management of only the weed and pest species that have been officially designated or declared. This equals about 66 weeds and 7 pests.

Scentless chamomile Culex mosquitoes
TCWP has declared scentless chamomile and culex mosquitoes as noxious in Teton County.

A complete list of the designated and declared weeds and pests that we manage can be found on our website. Note that the list of weeds does not include dandelions, salsify, yellow sweetclover, and many other plants we might consider “weeds.” But it does include a few plants that have been intentionally planted in gardens because of their beauty.

Residents of Teton County are required to control any and all of these listed weed species on their property, and TCWP can help by creating a weed management plan for you, loaning you a backpack sprayer, and selling you herbicide at a discounted rate. A few of listed weed species are such a high priority for us to control, that if you have them on your property, we will treat them ourselves, but in general, we do not spray on private property.

Toadflax Dame’s Rocket Oxeye Daisy
Despite their apparent beauty, these ornamental plants are incredibly invasive and cause ecological harm when they escape into natural areas. Toadflax, Dame’s Rocket and Oxeye Daisy are noxious weeds in Teton County and must be treated.

The officially listed pests that we get complaints about in Teton County are mosquitoes, ground squirrels, and mountain pine beetles. Our board has elected to focus our control efforts on the mosquito because of the threat of West Nile Virus in our region. Since the Uinta ground squirrel and mountain pine beetle are native species that do not threaten human health, our board has mandated that we provide education on these pest species, but do not actively control them. Education includes assisting the public with finding control options if that is what is desired.

Uinta ground squirrel
The Uinta ground squirrel is a native species that can be pesky in gardens. Although it is a designated pest in the state of Wyoming, it is actively managed in Teton County.

For those would like to control a weed or pest on their property that TCWP does not control, we have created a list of public and private entities that provide consultation and/or treatment on private property. The list includes private contractors who spray weeds, treat tree diseases, fog for mosquitoes, trap mammals of all sizes, and manage all kinds of insects, inside and outside the home. This list also includes state agencies and county extension offices that provide free information and services in their specialty.

Check out the 2018 contractor list on our website.

Ticks in Teton County

Ticks and even worse, tick-borne diseases can put a real damper on your summer fun. While ticks in Wyoming do not currently carry lyme disease, they do carry a host of other diseases to be aware of. When dealing with ticks, precaution is the most effective methods of ensuring a tick-free season. Tick-borne disease are not just a human concern, they can also affect pets as well. Unfortunately, cases of tick paralysis in dogs have already been diagnosed in Teton County this year. Talk to your veterinarian about the risks to your pets and what you can do to prevent illness.

Spotting a Tick

Prior to feeding, ticks have a teardrop or flattened oval shaped body, while after feeding, ticks become plump with a rounded body. Ticks do not have any wings or antennae but do have six legs (young ticks) and a total of eight legs once they have fully matured.

 

Tick-Borne Diseases in Teton County

Ticks present in Teton County have the potential to carry diseases such as Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or Tularemia.

Colorado Tick Fever Symptoms

Fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and, occasionally, a rash.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Symptoms

Initial symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and/or a severe headache. As RMSF progresses, symptoms may include rash, abdominal pain, joint pain, and/or diarrhea.

Tularemia Symptoms

Fever, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, skin ulcers, and/or diarrhea.

 

Tips to Avoid Ticks

The chances of coming in contact with ticks in Teton County are highest durning our summer months, specifically May, June, and July and while you are navigating through tall grasses or brush or while handling certain animals.

To minimize your exposure:

  • Tuck pant legs into socks.
  • Use insect repellents containing 20 percent or more DEET and/or picaridin. (Interested in learning more about DEET, view Jackson Hole News& Guide’s 2018 article on DEET).
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see ticks crawling on clothing.
  • Always do a full tick-check after hiking or being outdoors in an area that is known for ticks.
  • After coming inside, promptly put clothing in a high-heat dryer for at least ten minutes to help kill any ticks that might be hiding in clothing.

 

Ticks Around the Country

Recent reports indicate that Lyme disease is increasing in prevalence and expanding to new areas throughout the country, especially along the east coast. Due to difficult tracking (most cases are only ever treated by local doctors), it is hard to have extremely accurate numbers on the expanding prevalence and spread of Lyme disease.

In the southeast corner of the country, a brand new tick-borne disease has be found to cause allergic reaction to red meat. “An increasing number of people are developing allergies to red meat, and doctors believe the one thing many of them have in common are tick bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that tick-borne illnesses have more than doubled in recent years, and the problem is likely to keep rising as ticks infest larger areas of the country.” (view the full article here from CBS News).

Feeling brave? Watch this video to learn how ticks feed on their hosts:

Weeds of the Month: Dames Rocket and Leafy Spurge

After an unusually quiet June, the phones at TCWP have been ringing off the hook as Teton County residents watch the menacing flowering heads of Musk Thistle rising out of the surrounding vegetation. Roughly 75% of the urgent calls coming in are reporting a thistle of some kind, usually musk thistle. While we greatly appreciate these efforts from the community, we are also very concerned about other, less conspicuous weeds this time of year.

Weed of the Month, Number 1 Dame’s Rocket

Dame’s rocket was introduced from Eurasia intentionally due to its attractive purple flowers. It has been planted intentionally in flower gardens throughout Teton County where it does exceedingly well. Its aggressive root system and prolific seed production allows it to expand beyond property boundaries and “escape” into natural areas where it forms dense stands and quickly crowds out native plants.

Dame's Rocket
Dame’s rocket forms dense stands of purple, pink and white flowers that may look good in a garden bed, but not in a native plant community.
Dame's Rocket
Dame’s rocket is a member of the mustard family, which is characterized by 4-petaled flowers that grow in clusters. Other noxious weeds in this family include hoary cress, dyers woad, and perennial pepperweed.

Gardeners who like the look of Dame’s Rocket should consider planting Fireweed – a native plant that looks very similar.

Dame's Rocket Fireweed
Dame’s Rocket Fireweed

The apparent beauty of dame’s rocket makes it particularly malicious because most people don’t recognize it as a weed and instead welcome it into their gardens. TCWP is working to educate residents about the ecological damage this weed can do if it escapes in to natural areas and encouraging them to plant something native instead. Please report any dame’s rocket sightings to our office.

Weed of the Month, Number 2: Leafy Spurge

A second noxious weed that has our attention during this time of year is Leafy Spurge. This plant is in the Euphorbiaceae family, which includes a few ornamental plants you might find at a nursery as well as a few invasive species.

The spurges are hardy plants that are particularly appealing to gardeners because they contain a toxic milky sap that makes them unpalatable to deer.

Leafy Spurge Leafy Spurge

Leafy spurge is particularly aggressive because it is well-adapted to its homeland in the deserts of Eurasia where it has evolved an extensive root system (upwards of 20 feet deep) that it can regenerate from if the top is removed, and seed capsules that are capable of ejecting its seeds 15 feet from the parent plant. Leafy spurge finds the conditions in Teton County much gentler than they were in the desert and it is prospering in this environment.

Leafy Spurge
Leafy spurge can hitchhike in the root ball of a potted plant, resulting in it being “purchased” by accident from a nursery, as was the case with spurge that came with this Aspen tree
Leafy Spurge
Leafy spurge roots

Control of leafy spurge is very difficult. Its extensive root system makes mechanical control ineffective, and herbicide only works if it is absorbed into the root system – something that requires precise timing of application.

Leafy Spurge
Leafy spurge has not yet reached this level of infestation in Teton County and we are working to keep it that way.

Large infestations of leafy spurge are most effectively controlled by a combination of grazing by goats, fall herbicide application, and spring burning. At TCWP we are working hard to identify all infestations and “nip them in the bud” as soon as possible. This is one of a small number of noxious weeds that TCWP will treat on private property. Please call us if you see this weed.

Spring Is Here! When Can You Start Treating Weeds?

Summer is here and with the arrival of warm temps and sunshine come the season of noxious weed growth. Noxious weeds are invasive plants that has been introduced into an environment and causes or is likely to cause environmental or economic harm. TCWP works hard year-round to combat invasive species throughout the county but with the help of local landowners, the effect of the combined effort is much greater.

Unfortunately, many noxious weeds can be very pretty, but their effects on our environment are not (learn more about noxious weeds here).

When to start treating noxious weeds:

  • Weeds can be treated as soon as they begin to sprout in the spring.
  • Waiting until mid-June to start treating will save time and effort by making sure that weeds on your property have started growing before spraying and allow treatment before flowering.
  • Some species, like Dame’s Rocket and Whitetop, flower early and should be treated by mid-June.
  • Cheatgrass treatments: in the spring with Roundup or in the fall with pre-emergent herbicides.
  • Remember to follow-up June treatments with at least one more treatment in early August to catch any plants that may have come up after the first round of treatment.

Not sure what is sprouting up in your yard? Use our handy Weed ID to see if any invasive species are calling your property home.

 

Weeds of the Month: Houndstongue & Black Henbane

Spring has almost passed and summer is just around the corner. The buttercups, spring beautys, and chokecherries have already lost their blooms, and Arrowleaf Balsamroot is lighting up the hillsides. A few noxious weeds are also going to flower during this transition. Since flowers lead to fruits and seeds, and seeds lead to many more plants, these flowers are warning us – if you don’t stop me now, my progeny will haunt you for years to come!

June’s Weeds of the Month

There are two particularly unpleasant weeds flowering at this time that you should prevent from making a deposit in their “seed bank.”

Houndstongue is a plant in the borage family. Its deep magenta flowers are small, 5-petaled, and grow along wiry stalks. When pollinated, these flowers produce a fruit composed of 4 prickly burs that seem to leap from their stalk and readily stick to any passerby, just like velcro. The hitchhiking burs each hold a few seeds that will inadvertently be planted wherever their host discovers them, picks them off and drops them on the ground. Please, if you find these hitchhikers on yourself or your dog, pick the seeds off and dispose of them in a way that prevents future germination.

Photo By: Richard Old
Houndstongue fruits produce 4 velcro-like burs containing seeds.
By Photo: Ben Legler
Houndstongue produces 5-petaled magenta flowers along wiry stalks.

Houndstongue is a biennial plant. It produces flowers, fruits, and seeds in its second year of life, and usually dies after reproducing. If you find it in its first year of life, it will look like a cluster of long, hairy, tongue-shaped leaves with pointy tips. It can be confused with native arrowleaf balsamroot mentioned above, as that plant also produces a simple cluster of leaves its first year and those leaves are a similar shade of green. But look closely at the bases of the leaves and you will notice that balsamroot has a distinctive spade-shaped base while houndstongue leaves simply taper to a point at their base.

Balssamroot leaf

 

 

Houndstongue leaf
Balssamroot leaf bases resemble a spade. Houndstongue leaf bases taper to a point.

Whether the Houndstongue is in its first or second year, it can be killed by pulling it out by hand if the soil permits. If chopped out below the root crown, it rarely grows back. If the infestation is too large to hand-pull, purchase herbicide at TCWP and use a surfactant to be sure the herbicide permeates the hairy leaves. Seal any seeds in a plastic bag and put them in the trash.

Photo by: Richard Old Black Henbane

Both Houndstongue and Black Henbane can be controlled by hand pulling or by chopping out below the root crown. An herbicide used with surfactant can be used to control larger infestations.

Another nasty noxious weed that is blooming now is Black Henbane. This member of the nightshade family plant is unmistakable. Its leaves look like a head of cabbage and its unattractive, foul-smelling flowers look like they might appeal to dung beetles or houseflies as pollinators. Once pollinated, its flowers produce pineapple-shaped fruits packed with small black seeds.

Photo By: Richard Old
Black Henbane flowers are unmistakable.
Photo By: Richard Old
Black Henbane resembles a head of cabbage during its first year of life
Photo By: Richard Old
Black Henbane produces up to 500,000 seeds per plant.

Both of these plants have the same biennial growth habit and can be controlled in the same way. Both are also considered poisonous to animals and people when ingested, so be sure to wear gloves if you are hand-pulling.

If you encounter these plants around Jackson, you can send us a “weed report” by using the “service request” function on our website www.tcweeed.org. Remember to PlayCleanGo so you don’t spread their seeds into uninfested areas.

Photo credits: Ben Legler, Richard Old, XIDservices, Utah State University, Bingham County Weed Dept, Montana State University Extension

Mosquito Prevention in Teton County

Summer is here in the high country! Weekends of camping, hiking, days at the lake, and with the fourth of July just around the corner the last thing on your mind might be pesky mosquitoes, but for Teton County Weed & Pest, we have been hard at work trying to mitigate and minimize the 2018 mosquito season. Based on the statistics collected so far this year, the summer 2018 season is fairly similar to last year. Teton County’s flood water mosquito species have hatched and TCWP has been out treating larvae throughout the county.

National Mosquito Awareness Week

National Mosquito Awareness Week

Every year a week at the end of June is dedicated to National Mosquito Awareness Week (June 24-30, 2018), by the the American Mosquito Control Association, to further education about the significance of mosquitoes in our daily lives and the work done by control workers nationwide. Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance. Their bites can spread diseases such as Zika and West Nile Virus. “We already have the mosquitoes. We are continually importing the diseases they carry,” said Joseph Conlon, AMCA Technical Advisor. “We must be prepared to prevent their spread throughout our public health landscape – and this requires safe, effective, sustained mosquito control and awareness in the community.” Joseph Conlon, AMCA Technical Advisor.

Here in Teton County, we may not have as of an intense mosquito season or the disease prevalence, as other areas of the country but that doesn’t mean there are not precautions and prevention efforts you can put in place to help combat mosquitoes and further the quest to greatly minimize their impact year-over-year.

Here are our top suggestions to implement:

  • As you head out to enjoy the fantastic evening events in Jackson throughout the summer, dress appropriately with long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Purchase and utilize approved repellents. There are countless kinds of mosquito repellents available at local stores, but only a few are actually recommended, check these guidelines for top choices.
  • Contact TCWP! Whether you are looking for more info or you know your property typically has mosquitoes, TCWP offers free mosquito services. We can check and treat any property for mosquito breeding and monitor adult populations. When and if possible, t’s best to call before you see adult mosquitoes as treatment is most effective on larvae.
  • West Nile Virus (WNV) is present throughout Wyoming. TCWP does in-house testing of mosquitoes  and we encourage the public to report any dead crows, ravens, or magpies so that they can be tested for WNV.
  • More info from American Mosquito Control Association on what you can do to help Teton County.

Check out our Mosquito webpage or contact Teton County Weed & Pest with any and all questions related to mosquitoes.

GTNP AIS check station

Aquatic Invasive Species Update

Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes and can be transported in countless ways disrupting the native ecosystems and in many cases overrunning the ability for native species to thrive. In efforts to protect and preserve healthy ecosystems across the Rocky Mountain region, state agencies are teaming together and utilizing a national database. Data collected via this database can be shared across units, allowing for a boat’s inspection history to be accessed, allowing for inspectors to view where the boat has been previously to better assess potential transport issues. Utilizing this high-level of information grants the best possible communication across state lines.

Idaho's Clean, Drain, Dry Campaign for AIS

STATE & AREA UPDATES – CLEAN, DRY, DRAIN.

Idaho
Celebrating their 10th year of inspection stations, Idaho has discovered and intercepted  31 mussel fouled boats with 2 harboring viable adult mussels or veligers.  

So far in 2018, 17 fouled watercrafts have been decontaminated.

Learn more about Idaho’s Aquatic Invasive Species efforts here


Wyoming
From March 1 through November 30, all boats transported through the state, no matter if launching in Wyoming, must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector. Any watercraft that has been in a water infested with zebra/quagga mussels within the last 30 days, is required to undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching during ALL months of the year.

Local Wyoming boater? Head to Wyoming Game & Fish site to learn more about your responsibilities.


Montana
If you are carrying or towing any watercraft or water-based equipment (non-motorized and motorized), you MUST stop at all watercraft inspection stations you encounter in Montana.

Explore details of Montana’s specific state laws here


Grand Teton National Park
Inspection stations at Moose and Moran entrances have opened for the summer season.  

Kelly Warm Springs – Moving forward in 2018
Kelly Warm Spring has had a long history of illegal aquarium dumping dates back to guppies in the 1940s and in more recent years, reports of goldfish, madtoms, and bullfrog tadpoles have been found originating from the warm spring have traveled into Ditch Creek within 10 meters of the Snake River.

In conjunction with Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists, Grand Teton National Park biologists have identified piscicide treatment as the preferred alternative for removing non-native fish species from Kelly Warm Spring and its outflow area. Learn more about the efforts to clean up and restore the Kelly Warm Springs and surrounding tributaries on the Park Planning website.


Yellowstone
2018’s summer boating season has just begun; boat check stations will operate and are available at Bridge Bay Ranger Station, Grant Village Backcountry Office, and Snake River Ranger Station. Frequent Yellowstone often, learn the rules and regs here and as with all areas in Wyoming, remember to prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species to Yellowstone and any mountain region body of water by making always cleaning, draining, and drying your boat before you arrive. 

 

What a Crew!

You have surely seen those folks clad in orange vests, carrying heavy backpacks in the sweltering summer heat, scaling the steep terrain along the roads and highways in Teton County. After passing the TCWP pickup truck with the large water tank in the back, you probably realized you were seeing the TCWP seasonal spray crew hard at work. Did you ever wonder how they came to be spraying weeds and mosquitoes in Wyoming? Where were they from? Did they plan on doing this kind of work in the future or was it just a summer job adventure in the Tetons?

I experienced some hard days in the field with our seasonal crew this summer, and found surprising answers to some of these questions.

The Summer Spray Crew is hired by TCWP each summer from May through October, to spray weeds and mosquitoes in the county. This year’s crew of 18 includes 14 “returners” who have worked on the spray crew previously, one of whom is here for his 9th consecutive season! Clearly there is something about this work that brings them back year after year.

Though the majority are in their early twenties, you may be surprised to know, they are not ALL college students on a summer job adventure. The crew also includes a college professor, a school teacher, a bee keeper, even a monk!

 

You might think this type of work would only appeal to those planning a career in something similar. Not necessarily. Members of this highly educated crew are studying Public Health, Philosophy, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Exercise Physiology, Political Science and Robotics! Many have their Master’s degree and a few are working on PhDs!

So, what brings these intelligent and motivated individuals from all over the country out to Wyoming to spray weeds and mosquitoes for the summer? What keeps so many of them returning year after year? Answers include: The beautiful views while you work. The mountains. The free housing in Jackson. The great pay! Getting to work outside. The satisfaction of working for such a worthwhile mission.

All of that is great, but I really wanted to know how they were able to cope with the overwhelming tasks they were faced with daily. How did they not become discouraged by the endless swaths of spotted knapweed along the highways, and the acres of flooded fields, teaming with mosquito larvae, as far as the eye could see?

 

Working with them this summer, I was impressed by their contagious positive attitudes about their work. When I pointed this out, they shared clever ways of staying positive and having fun while coping with the physical and mental hardships of their work.

Many donned ear buds and listened to music or podcasts saved on their iPhones while working. Some changed tasks frequently – even just changed the weed they were spraying – to avoid burn-out. More than a few used meditation and breathing techniques to stay in a positive mental space. One espoused practicing a Buddhist philosophy of living in the present, taking one day at a time, and repeating the mantra, “all of these mosquitoes will be dead in a few months!”

We all face challenges in our work lives – some physical and some mental. When things get tough, the TCWP Summer 2017 Spray Crew reminds us to take some deep breaths, pop in our earbuds and listen to some cool tunes, and remind yourself, “this too shall pass.”

-Meta Dittmer, Office Programs and Communications Manager

PlayCleanGo While You Work – Come Clean, Leave Clean

Did you know the mud stuck in the tread of your shoes or vehicle tires can be full of plant seeds? Some of those seeds may belong to invasive plants. Therefore, it is important to clean mud and plant parts off your clothes, shoes, tires, etc. not just in the spring but every time you play or work.

The District became a PlayCleanGo partner in 2014 and has actively promoted this positive message to help protect Jackson Hole. Have you heard the message or seen it on a sign at your favorite trailhead? We hope so! We live here to play and enjoy the abundant recreational opportunities in the area. This also makes it our responsibly to take care of what we love so that future generations can enjoy the same opportunities. Invasive species are not only spread through our recreational travels, but also by actions we do every day around the valley.

As a landowner, contractor, or employee who works in Teton County, it is important to make sure your shoes, clothes, garden tools and equipment are clean of mud and seeds before working. One area of a property may have invasive plants while another area does not, and seeds and other plant parts can be unintentionally spread. If you are a landowner working with a landscaper or contractor on your property, please demand that their equipment is clean upon entering to protect your property value. Do your best to minimize ground disturbance during projects, as any exposed soil is at risk for invasive plants to establish.  Stockpiles of soil with invasive species present should be addressed so seed production does not take place. Reducing ground disturbance will also prevent spreading rhizomes of invasive plants like Canada thistle and Dalmatian toadflax throughout the area.

As you may have heard at the end of 2016, Teton County made major updates to the Land Development Regulations (LDR’s). Our simple requests above are now requirements per the LDR’s. The following are the Invasive Species Guidelines for Construction Projects.

  1. Create an inventory and management plan for all invasive species present on the site utilizing the State Designated and County Declared lists of noxious weeds, or contact TCWP to complete an inventory and management plan free of charge. Management plans shall include pre-construction, active construction, and post-construction integrated control elements as required in 5.7.2.12 of the Teton County LDR’s.
  2. Clean all construction equipment thoroughly before entering the site to prevent spreading invasive seeds and plant parts into the construction areas.
  3. Minimize disturbance, as invasive species tend to establish and thrive in these areas.
  4. Routinely check and treat soil stockpiles and disturbed areas for invasive species.
  5. Conduct reseeding and revegetation in a timely fashion to prevent invasive species from establishing before desirable vegetation using seed and nursery stock in accordance with the Wyoming Seed Law (WS 11-12-101 – 125) and the Wyoming Nursery Stock Law (WS 11-9-101 – 109). The use of certified weed free gravel, hay and straw is recommended.
  6. Schedule a post-development site visit with TCWP to update the existing management plan.

Preventing invasive species from being spread in the first place is the cheapest and most effective way to keep them out of Teton County. So how do we do this? What can each one of us do to prevent invasive species from being moved from place to place? We can PlayCleanGo while we play, but we can also PlayCleanGo while we work!

Through positive actions, we can all make a difference in preventing the spread of invasive species. You can help Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks by implementing these simple steps into your work day:

  1. ARRIVE with clean gear and equipment
  2. AVOID areas with invasive plants
  3. CLEAN off equipment, boots, clothing before moving to the next site
  4. USE CERTIFIED hay, straw and Department of Ag approved planting materials

All of us can protect Teton County and Wyoming for future generations! Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and remember to PlayCleanGo!

For further information on LDR compliance, visit us online at http://www.tcweed.org/resources/land-development/ or contact Lesley Beckworth at Lbeckworth@tcweed.org.