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East Gros Ventre Butte Cheatgrass Mitigation Pilot Project Success
FOR IMMEDIATE RELESE ( download release )

Jackson, Wy., June 28, 2018 – 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:
On September 28 th , 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.
2017 - East Gros Ventre Butte - Before Treatment
East Gros Ventre Butte - 2017 - Pretreatment
2018 - East Gros Ventre Butte - After Treatment
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 were spent by TCWP and the Jackson Hole Land Trust combined to map the current cheatgrass infestation, and to monitor the areas to be sprayed for native species composition.
  • The helicopter application cost $6,000 and was complete within 3 hours of spray time.
2017 - East Gros Ventre Butte, South Face - Before Treatment
2018 - East Gros Ventre Butte, South Face - After Treatment
Looking forward:
Utilizing the information from the pilot project, the JHWMA is planning to expand to similar treatments on the National Elk Refuge and the many hillsides currently infested by Cheatgrass, hopefully within the next 2 years. JHWMA members will also continue to monitor test plots to determine the most effective herbicide for the project.

We ask that while you are out enjoying our beautiful summer weather to look towards the buttes around town and take notice of the purple spanning the hillsides (this time of year invasive cheatgrass is a purple hue), but as you view East Gros Ventre Butte where the pilot program treated the cheatgrass last fall, it is looking clear of the invasive species! 

For media inquiries regarding the Cheatgrass Mitigation Pilot Project, please contact Mark Daluge, mdaluge@tcweed.org.
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