Second Round of Cheatgrass Mitigation Begins in August


The Jackson Hole Weed Management Association (JHWMA) and Teton County Weed and Pest District (TCWP) are conducting the second round of treatments for the Cheatgrass Mitigation Program in early August 2023. Treatments will be conducted by helicopter and will take place in wide swaths of the valley. Cheatgrass is a highly invasive, non-native annual grass with a quick growing life cycle giving it a competitive advantage over native vegetation. This mitigation program is expansive with the goal of reaching over 7,000 acres next month from the Gros Ventre to the Hoback Canyon. 

TCWP launched a pilot program in 2017 and covered a little over 300 acres. In 2020 and following the success of that program, the JHWMA put together a comprehensive plan to address the risks of invasive grasses with the support of these partners: Teton County Weed and Pest, Wyoming Game and Fish,  Teton Conservation District,Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Governor's Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, The National Elk Refuge and Bridger-Teton National Forest. With this fleet of partners, the treatment program covered more ground than ever before and made a significant positive impact on the ecosystem. Aerial application with helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) allowed for uniform coverage, cost-effectiveness, safety and an ecologically sensitive treatment of cheatgrass. 

Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) germinates in autumn which makes treatment in August imperative. This invasive grass outcompetes native forbs and grasses for water and nutrients. This significantly diminishes the quality of wildlife habitat, especially in the critical mule deer and bighorn sheep winter range. 

 Typically, this time of year brings with it wildfires, and cheatgrass is a major player. Cheatgrass dries early in the summer making it a serious fire risk, potentially leading to more frequent and larger fires and further habitat loss. A mere lightning strike can ignite an aggressive fire in dry cheatgrass infested lands. An example of this were the fires on East Gros Ventre Butte in 2019. 

The proposed treatment areas include Southern facing slopes in Jackson; Miller Butte on National Elk Refuge, Crystal Butte, High School Butte and hillsides along Highway 89 from the Town of Jackson to Hoback Canyon. These slopes are crucial for winter range and transitional habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, and mule deer.  

Letters have been sent to landowners in the mapped regions for treatment, giving residents until August 1 st to grant TCWP permission to treat on their property. Visit for more information and contact TCWP with any questions or concerns.