BLM Lander and Fremont County begin aerial weed treatments in Government Draw

With a shared commitment to control expanding populations of noxious and invasive weeds, the Bureau of Land Management will partner with Fremont County Weed and Pest for weed treatments in the Government Draw area east of Lander.

To combat cheatgrass and leafy spurge expansion and improve habitat for wildlife and livestock grazing, the herbicide Panoramic and adjuvant Sun Wet will be sprayed from a helicopter. Panoramic will provide selective post-emergent control of leafy spurge and pre-emergent control of cheatgrass.

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Aerial treatments may occur from August 28 through September 9. Actual spraying days will depend on weather conditions. The greater project area encompasses more than 30,000 acres of public, state and private land impacted by leafy spurge and cheatgrass.

“Both leafy spurge and cheatgrass have the potential to increase and dominate plant communities by rapidly displacing native species,” said Emma Freeland, BLM natural resource specialist and invasive species coordinator for the Lander Field Office. “The goal of the treatment is to provide the slower growing native plants, many of which are tolerant of this herbicide, with time to recover and compete.”

The Government Draw area contains important wildlife habitat for a number of species, including sage-grouse and other species dependent on sagebrush, and crucial winter range for mule deer and pronghorn. This area is also home to some of the largest concentrations of sage-grouse leks and nesting habitat in central Wyoming.

Partnerships like this one with Fremont County Weed and Pest are vital to the BLM’s mission of keeping public landscapes healthy and productive for the benefit of wildlife, traditional land uses like grazing, and other resources and uses.

The aerial treatments are made possible by grants to Fremont County Weed and Pest from Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, state and private forestry, and the local sage-grouse working group.

The area will remain open during the project dates, but please use caution to avoid spraying operations. Spraying will not occur in any area whenever the helicopter pilot detects human presence. For more information, please contact Freeland at 307-332-8400.

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