NELIGH – An educational workshop was hosted in partnership between the Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council and the Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA) along with a tour on Tuesday, May 22.
Antelope County Weed Superintendent, Bruce Ofe shared information on how the invasive Yellow Flag iris spreads.
According to a press release from Northeast Nebraska RC&D, its rhizomes form dense floating mats which can take over native plants growing on the edges of waterbodies. The plant is adaptable to all kinds of conditions and soil types. Originally from Europe, Asia or West Africa it is a “garden escape”. It’s poisonous so livestock don’t usually graze it.
The Yellow Flag iris is found in Antelope County from the Orchard road to east of Tilden, but the highest infestation is from Clearwater to Neligh. During the tour areas of Yellow flag iris were pointed out that had been sprayed last year and were under control. When blooming, which is right now, they’re easy to spot.
For many years, the NNWMA has used biocontrol agents on Leafy spurge, Spotted knapweed and Purple loosestrife. Since 2006 the group has received over $402,000 in grant funding with much of that being used to purchase appropriate and approved insects.
Terri Krysl, Boyd County Weed Superintendent explained that they’ve been released on public as well as private land in an effort to control noxious weeds. The NNWMA has moved many of them to other locations after they’ve multiplied sufficiently. Steve Banks, Knox County Weed Superintendent presented information on Absinth Wormwood, another invasive plant. It’s a perennial forb that looks similar to sage and grows on higher and drier sites, but can really get going if unchecked.
Steve and Doug Deck, Wayne County Superintendent told of the combined efforts of many partners to control Salt cedar along the Missouri River. Each spring and fall folks work together to comb designated sandbars for this noxious weed. Using boats they carry in backpack sprayers and marking tape so when a plant is found it is well identified. Last year only 11 plants were found which is down from 1,000 when the “search and destroy” program started in 2005.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The NNWMA covers an eight-county area and 4,610,212 acres of private, public and tribal land along with technical support from the Northeast Nebraska RC&D, a local non-profit.