Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States

2004 Annual Report for EW04-004

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $90,133.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $39,953.00
Region: Western
State: Nevada
Principal Investigator:
Jason Davison
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States


A major portion of the project was delayed due to administrative details related to changing PIs until May of 2005. Since that time significant progress has been made. The weeds have been identified, descriptions in laymen’s language written, a phone survey has been written, peer reviewed, accepted by the Human Subjects Assurance Committee, and is being administered to 267 participants, a comprehensive literature review is nearly complete, and the PIs are meeting in February to assemble the manual. The manual has been accepted for presentation at 2 annual meetings, and scheduling has begun for the individual state presentations.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objectives for this project are as follows: 1) Develop a list of noxious weed species that occur on at least 2 of the noxious weed lists in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, 2) collect, review and summarize current knowledge about livestock grazing as a control method for the targeted weeds, 3) present the information in a handbook and CD and distribute it to Cooperative Extension and NRCS offices, and 4) evaluate the project.

The progress of the project was again delayed due to the inability to transfer the principle investigator (PI) responsibilities and authority to expend funds from Dr. Karen Launchbaugh to Dr. Linda Wilson of the University of Idaho in a timely manner. The authorization was completed in late May of 2005, which allowed Dr. Wilson to hire the assistants needed to begin a major portion of the work necessary to complete the handbook. This has delayed completion of the handbook for approximately 1 year.
However, work on the handbook has been progressing smoothly since that time and a majority of the work has been completed as detailed in the grant application. The original completion date for the grant was originally June 30, 2006. I expect to submit a request for a one-year no-cost extension in order to complete some of the required tasks (state weed meeting presentations, and phone survey evaluations) in late 2006 and early 2007.


A total of 66 noxious weed species have been identified as occurring on at least 2 of the 9 Western states noxious weed lists as detailed in the grant application. Detailed descriptions have been written in layman’s terms for all of these weed species. Photographs are being compiled for each species using existing photo banks from numerous locations such as the University of Idaho, and various Internet resources such as A major portion of the requirements for completing the survey and literature reviews have been completed. Two research assistants have been hired. A comprehensive phone survey protocol was developed by the project PIs, reviewed by 6 experts in the field, revised, and then approved by the University of Idaho Human Subjects Assurance Committee ( approval # HAC 05-120). A phone survey contact list totaling 267 individual was developed using information provided by weed specialists in each of the targeted states. The survey has been completed by approximately 35% of those on the list. The comprehensive literature review is more than 75% complete. The final task is to decide on the layout of the handbook, compile it, submit it for peer review, and publish it. That is scheduled for the first of February 2006 when the PIs are scheduled to meet in Moscow, Idaho, to complete the task. The handbook and CD will then be mailed to Extension and NRCS offices in the 9 states.

The second phase of the project has begun with the acceptance of handbook presentations at 2 national meetings. The handbook will be presented by Dr. Linda Wilson at the Western Society of Weed Science Meetings in Reno, Nevada on March 14-16, 2006, and Jay Davison at the Association of Natural Resource Professionals meeting in Park City, Utah on May 14-17, 2006. It will be submitted for presentation at the Society for Range Managements’ annual meeting in Reno, Nevada, February 11-16, 2007. Scheduling for presentations at state-level weed meetings has begun and will continue throughout all of 2006.

Planning for the development of the website featuring the handbook has begun. The website will complement the existing website hosted by the University of Idaho titled “Prescription Grazing for Vegetation Management.” The journal article has not been written as it will be completed following the compilation of the comprehensive literature review used to develop the handbook.

The formal survey evaluations will begin 6 months following distribution of the handbook and be completed at 1 year following the distribution date. Information gathering concerning non-formal evaluations such as website hits, requests for further information, and applied project utilization consultations will be collected as soon as the handbook is distributed to Extension and NRCS offices in the nine targeted western states.


Ed Smith
Area Natural Resource Specialist
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
1329 Waterloo
Gardnerville, NV 89706
Office Phone: 7757829960
Linda Wilson
Research Scientest, Dept. of Plant, Soil, Ent.
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844
Office Phone: 2088859489