National Scope of Noxious Weeds
Now on World Wide Web
By Kathryn Barry
August 25, 2000
For the first time, land managers can compare noxious weed lists from the
lower 48 United States and six Canadian provinces by logging on to a new
section of the University of Montanas "Invaders" website.
Researchers with USDAs Agricultural
Research Service developed the new noxious weed section at the website. To
view the noxious weed information, go to:
Researchers at the ARS Northern
Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Mont., compiled the new
section containing official federal, state and provincial noxious weed lists.
The new section also includes a national ranking of weeds based on the number
of states where they are designated noxious.
This tool will help decision makers prioritize control and research efforts
at the local and national levels. In addition, they can use the system to
predict potential future problems by examining lists from neighboring states or
regions. Since it takes 10 to 20 years to discover and introduce new biological
control agents, significant money and effort could be saved by managing
invasive weeds while infestations are still small.
Invaders also provides historical weed distribution data for
five states in the Northwest: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
The database has been used to support environmental impact statements, risk
assessments and weed management programs.
The ARS researchers next step is to look at weed distributions and how
alien weeds have spread over time.
For example, spotted knapweed first entered the Pacific Northwest around
1893. The weed began to spread more rapidly in the 1950s, but distribution
exploded from 60 counties in 1985 to at least 175 counties today. The
researchers hope to identify reasons for such expansions, as well as trends
that can help identify which alien plants pose the most risk for future
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Kerri Skinner, ARS Northern Plains Agricultural
Research Laboratory, Sidney, Mont., phone (406) 433-9484, fax (406) 433-5038,