Lincoln County Weed Department

addresses terrestrial invasive

species of Northwest Montana

by Brian Baxter


The recent passing of National Invasive Species Week is a reminder that the war against invasive species right here in our beautiful state of Montana is a constant battle. It takes a committed team of natural resource management officials, planners, and field personnel to address a multitude of issues regarding both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species state and nationwide.

Terrestrial invasive species are land-dwelling, non-native plants, animals, and other organisms that have evolved to live on land. Biological and botanical invasions can present substantial threats to native ecosystems and are challenging for natural resource managers. Management teams set goals of advancing knowledge of invasive ecology, invader impacts, and invasive control tools to improve their control techniques.

A large part of combating these terrestrial species is to impart both awareness and knowledge to the public. Effective management of invasive species requires an integration of community ecology theories with an understanding of invasion biology and botany.

“It takes working with all our partners in a coordinated effort. The state is a huge help in our fight against noxious weeds and grasses,” shared Mike Bradeen, Lincoln County Weed Management Department Head. The United States Department of Agriculture defines noxious weed plants as those that can directly or indirectly cause problems for agriculture, natural resources, wildlife, recreation, navigation, public health, or the environment.

Also known as nuisance plants, noxious weeds can be invasive or introduced and native or non-native. Many invasive weeds and grasses can radically transform vegetation communities. Though not all native plants are affected by invaders in the same way, thus it becomes a somewhat complex science of studying plant communities and how they can be treated to resist potentially harmful results.
This becomes a challenge with potential for multiple outcomes which resource land managers find themselves addressing. For instance, any transformation of native plant communities by weed invasion can have negative impacts on songbirds. The change in vegetation can mean a loss of critical habitat components which may result in loss of nesting sites, critical food sources, and hiding cover.

There are several target invasive species in our area which teams are coordinating efforts to control and/or eradicate if possible. “Tansy Ragwort is brought in by fires, and Ventenata grass out-competes other grasses, but cattle won’t eat it,” Bradeen explained.

Rush Skeletonweed, Blueweed, Leafy Spurge, and Scotch Broom are all among the list of target species here in our NW corner of the state. Bradeen has been working on grants to help fight Tansy Ragwort and Rush Skeletonweed. An application for an educational grant addressing Ventenata Dubai has also been submitted.
Bradeen is particularly hopeful that these grants will come through, as some of the funding would help to provide educational classes for private landowners. The public can assist all efforts of the local weed department by attending potential classes and working to identify and report invasive species occurrence along with the exact locations of these sightings.

Bradeen can be reached by phone 283-2420, or email at mbradeen@libby.org. A Quick-Guide for Ventenata and other invasive grasses can also be found at


The Lincoln County Weed Department is responsible for controlling the noxious weeds and vegetation on the right-of-way along county and state roads. The Department abides by both County and State Noxious Weed Plans and acts in accordance with EPA label requirements of the herbicide used. The department respects agreed upon “No Spray Zones” that are maintained by the landowner.

Additional information may be obtained from the State of Montana at agr.mt.govweeds or www.mtweed.org, from the U.S. Forest Service
at fs.usda.gov/managing.land.invasive-species, or by calling
Willie Sykes at 293-6211

Scotch Broom, although a beautiful shrub, is not to be planted everywhere. The European native fought with other plants to secure its own living space in its native habitat, thus acquiring strong resilience and adaptability. In many state, including Montana, it has been declared an invasive species and is a targeted invasive species here in

Lincoln County. (Courtesy Photo)

2021 YCC Summer Program

Applications open thru March 29

The United States Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program that engages young people in meaningful work experiences on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries while developing an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility.

The U.S. Forest Service Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy recently shared that registration for their 2021 YCC program is now underway.

This years program will begin on Monday, June 7, and end on Thursday, July 29.

The YCC Program of Troy is looking to fill 5-6 positions for the 2021 summer season.

Hours of work will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Compensation of $8.75 per hour for 8 consecutive 32-hour work weeks will culminate in $2,240 earned while working through the YCC program.

Students need to be 15 years old by June 7 and must not turn 19 years old before July 29 in order to participate in the program.

Individuals will be chosen from applications received and a possible short interview to be conducted by Three Rivers Ranger District.

Home school and private school students are welcome to apply.

Applications are available at the Three Rivers Ranger Station, 12858 US Hwy 2,  or through the Troy High School Front Office, 116 E. Missoula Avenue in Troy.

All applications are due by Monday, March 29, at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Dave Thorstenson at Troy Ranger Station, 295-4693.

The 2020 YCC Summer Crew for the Three Rivers Ranger District takes a moment to socially distance and enjoy the sunshine amidst a hard day’s work.

(Photo Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service—Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy)

Montana hunter harvest surveys are underway


Montana FWP


On March 1, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks began conducting elk and wolf harvest surveys by phone.

FWP will be calling a sample of more than 100,000 hunters to gather harvest information on last year’s hunt.

The survey will ask randomly selected hunters a series of short questions about their hunting effort and harvest success for elk and wolves.

This research is vital to wildlife managers looking to understand the results of the 2020 harvest season.

The hunter harvest surveys will continue through May.

Please be aware that while survey callers will ask for details about your hunting effort, harvest success or contact information, they will never ask for sensitive information like your Social Security Number, nor will they request donations or payments of any kind.