Montana State University

Columbus-area volunteers needed for Yellow Starthistle Weed Watch Day, Aug. 4

July 21, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
Montana State University Extension and the Stillwater County Weed District are looking for volunteers to participate in the "Yellow Starthistle Weed Watch Day" August 4, 2011, in and around Columbus, Mont.

Yellow starthistle is an aggressive noxious weed, present on more than 17 million acres in California alone. It reduces wildlife habitat by outcompeting native plants, reduces forage for livestock, and the sharp spines inhibit recreational activities. The plant is toxic to horses, causing the neurological disorder "chewing disease," which can be fatal.

The plant is not widespread in Montana, but an infestation was discovered near Columbus in 2009. Plants were found growing where construction vehicles were stored, suggesting seeds might have been transported throughout the area. The goal of this weed watch event will be to detect and eradicate any additional plants, which requires a concerted, community-wide effort.

Volunteers will be trained in yellow starthistle identification and assigned a route to search. The Yellow Starthistle Weed Watch Day will culminate with an afternoon barbeque and a demonstration by Megan Parker of "Working Dogs for Conservation". Megan trains dogs to detect high priority invasive species.

For more information and to register, see "Upcoming Workshops and Events" on the MSU Extension Invasive Rangeland Weeds website http://www.msuextension.org/invasiveplantsMangold/extensionsub.html

Register using the form on the website or call Stillwater County Weed Coordinator Lindsey Clark at 406-322-1106.

Lindsey Clark at (406) 322-1106 or lindseyclark@montana.net