Weed Prevention Areas: Protecting Montana from Invasive Weeds

  1. Attention all Hunters When Spottted call 357-3200
    Call-to-action programs in eastern Montana encourage hunters to report new invasions of spotted knapweed to local weed districts.

  2. dog in field
    “Nightmare” searching for the odor of spotted knapweed on a dryland pasture. Photo: R. Gorsuch

  3. dog searching field
    “Tsavo” searching for spotted knapweed plants. Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation.

  4. “Rio” takes a break with his reward after locating spotted knapweed plants. Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation.

  5. dog in grass sniffing ground
    “Nightmare” following the odor gradient to a knapweed plant. Photo: R. Gorsuch

  6. blue weed prevention area sign with agriculture sceeen in background
    WPA signs are posted at ranch entrances to educate visitors and reinforce rancher commitments to prevention. Prairie County.

  7. river passing through prairie country
    Prevention efforts in the Hill County WPA aim to protect the upper Milk River Valley—one of a few large stretches of the Milk River that still remain weed-free. Photo: Hill County Weed District

  8. two people and Entering Weed Prevention Area Sign, with grasslands in background
    Weed prevention area entrance signs mark weed-free areas and educate visitors. Photo: Garfield County Weed District

  9. creek passing through grassland with higher ground in background
    The Willow Creek WPA is 172,000 acres in size and located near Choteau at the Rocky Mountain Front in Teton County. Photo: Teton County Weed District

  10. men with GPS unit
    The Prairie County Weed District trains WPA ranchers on GPS technology to map new weeds early.

  11. sagebrush landscape
    The Custer County WPA aims to protect over 461,000 acres of weed-free rangeland. Photo: Custer County Weed District

  12. Man with ATV outfitted with spray equipment and GPS
    Weed scouts are outfitted with GPS units and spray equipment to inventory rangelands and eradicate new invasions. Photo: Liberty County Weed District.

  13. grassland scene with fence in foreground
    Ranchers in the South Phillips County WPA are taking collective steps to keep 850,000 acres of healthy prairie rangelands weed-free over the long term.
News and Information

A long-term approach

The Montana Weed Prevention Program at Montana State University is a long-term approach to protect rangelands in eastern Montana from weed spread. Weed Prevention Areas are a designation aimed at keeping rangelands that currently have few or no weeds from being infested. These local level prevention systems direct proactive approaches to weeds, which are more successful than common reactive approaches that focus on land already dominated by weeds.

In a WPA, stakeholders collectively
  • implement site-specific strategies to protect weed-free landscapes from invasion over time, and
  • design local education campaigns to influence public opinion and policy for long-term support and investments in prevention.

Funding sources include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Center for Invasive Species Management, and Western Region SARE.
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