- Education and Training: networking, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
- Pest Management: biological control, prevention
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, analysis of personal/family life, social psychological indicators
Invasive weeds have overtaken millions of acres of Western rangelands, yet vast tracts of land remain weed free. To protect these high quality rangelands, this Western SARE Professional + Producer grant aims to develop Weed Prevention Areas, or WPAs, that work as local early detection and response mechanisms to stop weed spread. The project will develop a 200,000-acre WPA in Garfield County, Mont., involving 14 weed-free ranches. This pilot project will educate stakeholders about identifying weeds, the importance of early intervention, the impacts of failure and the long-term benefits of prevention stewardship. The project will attempt to interrupt pathways of weed dispersal, especially where humans are the vector, and develop a systematic early detection and response strategy by frequently sampling probable sites of invasion. Eric Miller, Garfield County extension agent and project coordinator, notes that producers can play a vital role in curbing invasive weeds because their broad knowledge of rangelands means they are often the first to detect an invader.