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TEAM Leafy Spurge Receives Top ARS Tech Transfer Award / February 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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TEAM Leafy Spurge Receives Top ARS Tech Transfer Award

By Linda McElreath
February 12, 2003

BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12—Spreading the word about ways to combat noxious weeds has garnered The Ecological Areawide Management (TEAM) of Leafy Spurge a top technology transfer award from the Agricultural Research Service. The program’s members include ecologist Gerald Anderson, ecologist Chad Prosser, technical information specialist Bethany Redlin, information aide Jill Miller and entomologist Robert Richard.

ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, will honor TEAM Leafy Spurge and other award-winners today during a 1 p.m. ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Beltsville. “This event provides a venue for our agency to honor researchers who’ve gone the extra mile in moving promising new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace,” said Edward B. Knipling, ARS Acting Administrator.

Anderson, Redlin and Miller are based at ARS’ Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, Mont. Prosser, formerly with NPARL, now works at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, N.D., and Richard works for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Fort Collins, Colo. During today’s ceremony, Knipling will present Anderson, the TEAM representative, a gold plaque and cash award for Outstanding Technology Transfer.

The Montana-based leafy spurge program was formed in 1997 to develop, and disseminate information about, integrated pest management strategies to combat leafy spurge, an exotic invasive species that infests at least 5 million acres in the United States and Canada. In the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming alone, leafy spurge infestations cost about $144 million annually in production losses and control expenses. It crowds out native vegetation and threatens biodiversity, and the herbicides most commonly used against it can have adverse environmental consequences.

Funded by ARS and managed cooperatively with APHIS, TEAM Leafy Spurge has developed effective and affordable management strategies to control the weed during the past six years. Strategies they’ve researched include using biological control insects, naturally occurring plant pathogens and various grazing techniques.

“TEAM Leafy Spurge has been extraordinarily successful in accomplishing its mission,” said Knipling. Members have distributed more than 48 million biological control flea beetles and produced more than 20 informational products, including brochures, CD-ROMs, manuals, newspaper articles and a documentary.

These informational products have reached a huge audience and educated ranchers and land managers throughout North America about how to deal with leafy spurge infestations. TEAM officials have traveled an estimated 250,000 miles to give more than 100 presentations, and they’ve distributed close to 45,000 biological control manuals. Their documentary, “Purging Spurge: Corralling an Ecological Bandit,” was televised in June 2002 and helped reach an even wider audience. TEAM members have partnered extensively with other federal, state and local agencies and institutions, and have extensively informed the public of the dangers of invasive species.

Some participants who’ve used tools developed by TEAM Leafy Spurge have had great success in controlling spurge infestations. In fact, researchers believe that if the same integrated management plans are carried out over larger areas, leafy spurge could be reduced to an incidental weed.

For more information about TEAM Leafy Spurge, visit http://www.team.ars.usda.gov.

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Last Modified: 2/11/2003