East Gros Ventre Cheatgrass Mitigation Project

In late September 2017, the Jackson Hole Weed Management Association embarked on a pilot project to control cheatgrass via aerial application on East Gros Ventre Butte in the Town of Jackson, Wyoming. This project was made possible through grant funds from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust. This project was implemented due to the visible spread of cheatgrass on south facing slopes in Teton County. Cheatgrass in areas that were not treated can be easily visible this time of year on area slopes and buttes, displaying a bright red to purple color. At the time of the launch of the pilot program almost 10,000 acres in the county were infested with cheatgrass.

Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is a highly invasive non-native annual grass that threatens wildlife and native plants with its aggressive growing cycle and ability to out-compete native vegetation for water and nutrients. Cheatgrass dries early in the summer, creating ideal conditions for serious fire hazards.

East Gros Ventre Butte Treatment & Process:

Helicopter over East Gros Ventre Butte - Cheatgrass Mitigation

Aerial Treatment in Progress

On September 28th, 2017, the pilot program launched with the first-ever aerial spraying with herbicide to mitigate invasive species in Teton County. Application was performed by a low-flying helicopter eliminating the “drift” by taking advantage of the helicopter’s rotor wash to effectively push the herbicide to the ground. Combined with support and excitement from Teton County residents, the Jackson Hole Weed Management Association looked forward to this spring to view the results of the treatment. Both Bayer Esplanade and BASF Plateau herbicide were chosen for this project to combat cheatgrass. “Based on effective treatment in other test areas which resulted in no signs of impact to native vegetation, wildlife, or people we anticipated the cheatgrass mitigation pilot project would be successful”, said Mark Daluge, Teton County Weed and Pest Assistant Supervisor.

Pilot Program Statistics

  • 128 acres were sprayed, with 13.3 being treated with Esplanade (Indazaflam), and 114.7 acres with Plateau (Imazapic).
  • A total of 23 staff hours and nearly $2,000 was spent by TCWP and the Jackson Hole Land Trust combined to map the current cheatgrass infestation, and to monitor native species composition in the areas to be sprayed.
  • The helicopter application cost $6,000 and was complete within 3 hours of spray time.
The following photographs illustrate cheatgrass infestations on East Gros Ventre Butte that were treated during the Fall of 2017.
September 2018 Update of the Butte’s Progression
09.5.18 EGV Butte Post Treatment Update - 2
09.5.18 EGV Butte Post Treatment Update - 2

Download the 2018 Cheatgrass Progress Materials

 

Interested in learning more about the pilot project, head to our initial program launch webpage for details on the comprehensive mitigation program >>