All posts by TCWeed

Marimo Moss Balls

Moss Balls Carrying Zebra Mussels

We warned back in March 2021 that Marimo Moss Balls were contaminated with Zebra Mussels. These moss balls are generally sold at PetCo. and PetSmart and other pet stores. If you are unfamiliar with Zebra Mussels we want to urge how serious of an impact these invasive species can have on our waterways in Wyoming.

Steps on How to Best Dispose of the Moss Balls

Your Moss Ball May Carry Invasive Mussels

Step 1. Remove any pets from the water and tank.

Step 2. Remove the ball, other plants and any water from the aquarium and put them in a heat-safe pot.

Step 3. Inspect the ball and tank for zebra mussels and if you find any contact your local Game and Fish regional office.

Step 4. Boil the balls, plants and any water it’s been in contact with for at least five minutes.

Step 5. Dispose of the ball and other plants in the trash.

Step 6. Pour out the boiled water on a semi-permeable surface. That could be a houseplant or outside – like grass or soil – not located near standing water or a storm drain.

What’s the Big Deal with Zebra Mussels?

Zebra Mussels are an invasive species native to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea in eastern Europe. Zebra mussels are filter feeders. They eat by sucking in water and filtering out all the nutrients, which impacts the ecosystem and fish populations.

What’s the BIG Deal with Zebra Mussels?

Mosquito Habitats – Springtime

As summer nears and temperatures begin to rise throughout the Valley, water from snowmelt can create rearing habitat for larval mosquitoes. The habitat requirements for larval mosquitoes vary across species and mosquitoes have learned to take advantage of all different types of habitat. Some mosquito species prefer ephemeral habitats, such as pooling snowmelt, others require permanent water sources like grassy shallow pond edges. In the spring, our two biggest sources of mosquito habitat are snowmelt pools and water springing up as the water table rises from melting snowpack.  

In spring when temperatures are cooler, mosquito larvae take longer to develop into adults. So, temporary pools are only suitable if they persist for the duration of larval development. Considering that water evaporates quickly during dry time periods in Teton County, and that mosquito development is slower, temporary pools generally need to last for at least two weeks this time of year. 

If you think mosquitoes are breeding on your property, take a quick walk around. Do you have standing water? Is that water at least two inches deep? Is it likely to remain for 1 – 2 weeks? If the answer to all these questions is yes, you may want to reach out to us.  

Requesting mosquito surveillance can be done quickly by filling out a form under the Contact Us tab at our website. You can also call the office at 307-733-8419. If you have not filled out a permission form, please take a moment to submit one through our website so we can conduct surveillance and provide treatment as needed.

Annual 4th Grade Wildlife Expo persists

Since 2003, Teton County Weed and Pest District has helped to host the annual Wildlife Expo for Teton County 4th graders and their teachers.

Each spring, a few hundred 4th graders would gather to learn from a host of local natural resource entities that were part of the Jackson Hole Weed Management Association. In addition to TCWP, the JHWMA included BTNF, GTNP, WGF, SRF, the National Elk Refuge, the Cougar fund, and any organization for whom invasive plants were a threat to the resource they managed.

Mary Cernicek, now the Public Affairs Officer for BTNF, presented at the 2005 Wildlife Expo

The annual wildlife expo is an event that brings all of these organizations together each spring to teach 4th graders about the important work of these local organizations and how it helps wildlife. The event has taken place every year, rain or shine, since 2003…even during the COVID-19 pandemic! 

Wildlife Expo 2020 still happened despite the pandemic, but it was different from all previous events. Expo 2021 will also be different.

Meta Dittmer is the Education and Communication Program Coordinator for TCWP. She has coordinated this event since 2017 and she had to get creative last year. “It has been such a legacy – ongoing since 2003, I didn’t want to break that track record,” she claimed.

So she convinced those organizations who could participate to create videos of their presentations and shared the videos with the 4th grade teachers.

“We only had 5 of our usual 10 organizations participate in 2019, but it was better than nothing and the teachers appreciated it.”

Chris Wight of WGF teaching 4th graders about Aquatic Invasive Species at the 2015 Wildlife Expo

This year Meta has a different plan for the Expo. Each participating organization will develop an activity that the teachers will do in their classrooms, and create a box containing all materials for the activity.   Each box will be delivered to participating classrooms accompanied by a video introducing the presenter and their organization. The boxes of activities will rotate through the participating 4th grade classrooms during the last month of school.

“I love the way this pandemic has encouraged us to think outside the box and get creative about how to keep our programs happening despite these constraints,” says Meta. The perseverance of the 4th Grade Wildlife Expo, now in its 19th year, is a great example of this.

TCWP’s Response to COVID-19 (2021)

Teton County Weed and Pest District reminds that their mission strives for the protection of human health. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, TCWP’s mission stands more than ever before. 

Office Hours : Tuesday – Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm

TCWP will continually serve the community this season but from a safe distance. Staff are working hard to meet the community’s needs while ensuring a successful recovery from the pandemic.

Community Risk Level Yellow or Green – Masked customers welcome in the office

Community Risk Level Orange, Red or Purple – Employees only in the office 

Not comfortable with in-person yet? No problem! We will meet you outside!

CURBSIDE PICKUP AVAILABLE

Please call 307-733-8419

Order Online

Fill out our online Contact form  

Landowner consultations will begin towards the end of May. Social distancing practices will be in place and virtual consultations will be made available.

Herbicide Curbside Pickup

Our backpack loaner program will be back this summer. Call to reserve your backpack today! We have a Herbicide Request Form on our site to make it easier to place orders in order to help meet your needs.  Curbside pickup upon request.

Our Highest Priority: Public Health

Our highest priority is the safety of the Jackson community and still we strive to protect our ecosystem from the highest priority species. Mosquitoes as we know are resilient pests and we plan to focus our treatments primarily on the areas where West Nile Virus has presented in the past. 

There is nothing like the summer season in the Tetons! We encourage you to get outside and enjoy the wide-open spaces. Recreate responsibly by practicing social distancing, wearing masks when required and practice PlayCleanGo!

We realize that this is still a time of uncertainty but there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. We are here to provide education and resources to best serve Teton County. At times such as these we prioritize and continue to guide our community in how we can all do our part in the protection and restoration of our beloved ecosystem.

2020: What A Year It’s Been

We love to reflect back on the year we’ve had and this year is no exception. No one would have anticipated what this year had in store but we (like so many) made adjustments to serve Teton County effectively. Here is our End of Year Report for 2020 and a special Brighter Side from our staff.

Summary of the year’s activities: 

  • Managed to fulfill the majority of our obligations even with a smaller seasonal crew due to COVID
  • Successfully deployed a drone for mosquito larviciding and herbicide treatments on steep slopes, otherwise inaccessible.
  • Mosquito – prioritizing culex locations, very few adult mosquito complaints
    • Monitored mosquito populations through 256 trap events and over 3,500 larval sampling events. Approximately 1,134 acres were treated with larvicide and adulticide was applied on four nights. 
  • Had two successful large grant projects, details below
  • Forged new partnership with Health Department and Town of Jackson
  • Added a PCR machine to our lab to do in-house arboviral testing (WNV, SLE, & WEE)

Unique Challenges

  • COVID-19:
    • Seasonal employee housing – cut our seasonal crew numbers 50%, had no cases
    • Curbside service for landowners, remote working for FT staff

Special Projects

  • COVID-19 Wastewater Testing – partnership with Town of Jackson and Teton County Health Dept. 
  • Aerial Cheatgrass Mitigation Project
    • Treated 4365 acres over 10 days.  Broken down by ownership, 1145 acres were treated on the National Elk Refuge, 2518 acres on the Bridger Teton National Forest, and 702 acres of State/Local government and private land.  
  • Snake River EDRR
    • Working Dogs for Conservation
      • 3 dogs were successfully trained to locate both perennial pepperweed and saltcedar and found 9 separate perennial pepperweed locations – 4 new locations
      • These dogs are now capable of locating these species for other projects in other locations providing a useful tool for conservation both throughout the region and around the world – TCWP will continue this project next year
    • Reductions in high priority species (ie. saltcedar, pepperweed)
  • Drones: This year we expanded drone treatments for both Mosquito and Invasive Plant programs.
    • Mosquito larvicide: 62 acres
    • Invasive Plant (mostly on steep hillsides for spotted knapweed and cheatgrass:  8 acres 
    • Utilized waterproof surveillance drone to look for standing water and check for breeding with underwater video.
Working Dogs for Conservation

The Brighter Side of 2020

It’s been quite a year. We asked Our Team what was their Brighter Side of 2020.

Despite all the challenges we’ve all faced Teton County Weed and Pest has accomplished quite a lot on and off the clock.

Thank you to our Teton County community for being so patient with us as we pivoted to keep our operation alive despite this global pandemic. We are proud of what we accomplished this year and with your help we can continue to serve you and the one’s you love safely.

-The TCWP Team

TCWP Will Test Wastewater for COVID-19

A partnership between Teton County Weed and Pest District , the Teton County Health Department, and the Town of Jackson was created to determine a way to test the wastewater from the Town of Jackson for COVID-19.  Weed and Pest worked with the Teton County Health Department to ensure they had the correct equipment and personal protective equipment to run the wastewater samples in-house.  COVID-19 can be found in human waste and the results will be another data point to understand the presence of COVID-19 in our community. With swab tests still troubled by capacity issues, and slow turnaround, testing wastewater for the novel coronavirus’ genetic signature could give the community a faster way to spot a rebound in cases. Samples are currently being sent to a lab out of state.

“This is a natural fit for the Weed and Pest District as part of our mission is focused on public health,. Our lab capacity was untapped and now with this partnership, we are making a meaningful contribution to save time and resources while providing same-day results. The previous lab used to test the wastewater was located out of state.”

Supervisor Erika Edmiston.

Despite being more experienced in testing West Nile virus than COVID-19, our lab is outfitted with the right equipment and expertise to help make a difference during this pandemic.

Samples will be collected from the Town of Jackson sewer system two times per week beginning July 13th, 2020.

Proudly a Trout Friendly Program Partner

We are proud to be a Trout Friendly Program Partner with the Jackson Hole Clean Water Coalition. This program is designed to be simple for residents and landscaping professionals to implement. When our participants commit to this program they are improving our water quality for the health of all the plants, insects, fish, wildlife and humans that rely on clean water. We now have over 100 residents, businesses and public parks that have committed to these practices.

Trout Friendly Practices

1. LIMIT FERTILIZER

2. BE WATER WISE

3. PLANT NATIVES & MAINTAIN STREAMSIDE BUFFERS

4. USE HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES APPROPRIATELY

The behavior we adopt into our lives have a direct effect on our ecosystem. As stewards of this great land we have a responsibility to take care of it.

“At its core, the Trout Friendly Lawns program encourages homeowners and caretakers to be mindful of how their landscaping activities can impact our unique ecosystem through water use, fertilization, the use of pesticides and more — right down to the plants that are selected for a landscape.”

Lesley Beckworth, Landowner Program Coordinator for Teton County Weed & Pest District

The Trout Friendly Landscaper & Business Partners program supports landscapers in creating and maintaining quality lawns and gardens, while limiting impacts on water from fertilizer and herbicide runoff.

The following local businesses are now Trout Friendly certified:

Be part of the solution

One of the reasons why we live here in Jackson Hole is to enjoy in the rich ecosystem including the streams and waterways. Each one of us have a stake in the future health of natural resources here. Let’s encourage our friends and neighbors to adopt this behavior outlined by Trout Friendly Lawns Certification Program so we may all take part in the solution.

TCWP’s Response to COVID-19

Teton County Weed and Pest District reminds that their mission strives for the protection of human health. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, TCWP’s mission stands more than ever before. 

Adjusted Hours at TCWP’s Office

TCWP will continually serve the community this season but from a safe distance. Our office will be closed to the public however we will be available for questions by phone messages (within 1-2 business days) and through our website’s Contact form.  Once our consultation begins on June 1st social distancing practices will be in place and virtual consultations will be made available.

Herbicide Curbside Pickup

We will not be loaning out backpacks for safety reasons this season however we will be selling them at a reasonable cost to our community. We have a Herbicide Request Form newly added to our site to make it easier to place orders in order to help meet your needs. All orders will be fulfilled by preorder curbside pickup and payment made over the phone or by dropbox at our office location.

Curbside pickup orders on: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 – 5pm and Fridays from 9 am – 5 pm. Same day pick up is NOT available.

We are taking all the proper precautions with personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks and gloves. Our staff preparing orders will be wearing PPE and all TCWP team members will be continuing their social distancing and vigilant hygiene practices.

Our Highest Priority: Public Health

Our highest priority is the safety of the Jackson community and still we strive to protect our ecosystem from the highest priority species. Mosquitoes as we know are resilient pests and we plan to focus our treatments primarily on the areas where West Nile Virus has presented in the past. 

There is nothing like the summer season in the Tetons and though the pandemic has dampened the spirit of the season merely stepping outside into wide open spaces does serve as the best “therapy” there is. Enjoy the seasonal changes and do what you can to help stop the spread of invasive species while on the trail or out on the water. At a time like this, we need to all stick together (from a safe distance of course).

We realize that this is a time of uncertainty but we are here to provide education and resources to best serve Teton County. At times such as these we re-prioritize and continue to guide our community in how we can all do our part in the protection and restoration of our beloved ecosystem.

Meet our Team: Mark Daluge

Name: Mark Daluge
Job Title: Assistant Supervisor

Where were you born/raised and what brought you to Teton County?

Madison, WI. Skiing

What has been the most unexpected/difficult part of your job and why?

Learning to fly a drone to spray weeds.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job or a favorite project you’ve been a part of and why?

Cheatgrass. It grows where it is hard to treat and expands extremely rapidly!

If you could influence every adult in Teton County to practice “Play Clean GO”, which habit would you most advocate for and why?

Be sure to clean your camping gear before and after each trip!

If you could change one local or state law related to weed/pest management or natural resource management, which would it be and why?

Stricter penalties for not controlling weeds on private property.

If money and time were no object, what type of project would you like to start, or what kind of tool would you create, for long term weed/pest management/eradication in Teton County and why?

More effective bio controls that would affect all species – providing natural enemies that control and keep weed species in check.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

What free time? Two kids keep me busy, but I enjoy anything related to the Wisconsin Badgers.

What motivates you to work hard and why?

Knowing that I’m making a difference protecting uninfested areas from the detrimental effects of invasive species.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and what did it take to make that happen?

Finding a way to make living in Jackson Hole possible. It took and is still taking many sacrifices to make it happen, but well worth it!

Who has been the most influential person in your life and what have they inspired you to do?

My parents. They taught me that with hard work, dedication, persistence, resourcefulness, and creativity, anything is possible.

Meet our Team: Amy Girard

Name: Amy Girard
Job Title: Mosquito Program Coordinator

Where were you born and raised and what brought you to Teton County?

I was born in Bad Axe, Michigan and moved out west in 2005. While studying the effects of sagebrush treatments on small mammal communities in lovely Randolph, Utah I met my husband to be. We decided to ride his dirt bike up to Jackson one weekend to check out the mythical Tetons for the day. Once we saw the mountains, we knew it was a place we needed to spend more time. We have left a few times since then for jobs and grad school, but we have always been drawn back to this special place.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

I love to camp (when else can I eat smores?), pick up rocks, fish, play board games, and spend time outdoors with my friends and family. I am an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy as well as a lover of open-world RPGs.

If you could rid Teton County of one invasive weed or pest, which would it be and why?

I would rid Teton County of Canada Thistle. I hate how prevalent it is, especially in some backcountry areas of the county. It’s a bit depressing to be miles away from a trailhead and walk into a nasty patch of scratchy thistle. The extensiveness of this species makes it incredibly hard to contain and treat, not to mention how uncomforatable it is to hike through.

What motivates you to work hard and why?

I am a strong believer in the philosophy of “work hard play hard”. I like increasing the focus and efficiency of my projects and making improvements to better serve the District’s needs. However, I also believe in taking the time to find balance and pursue passions and hobbies outside of the wordplace (aka eat more smores.)