Aerial Spraying at Badlands National Park Complete
Contact: Milton Haar, 605-433-5285
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Aerial herbicide application for management of invasive weeds is complete for 2010. Canada thistle is a non-native and invasive plant listed as noxious weed in South Dakota. Left untreated, Canada thistle would increase in population, interfere with the natural ecology of Badlands National Park and spread to adjacent land. Badlands National Park contracted with Scott’s Helicopter Services Inc. from Le Sueur, MN to apply herbicide to Canada thistle within the Sage Creek Wilderness Area. Application occurred as weather permitted from July 8th through July 23rd. A total of 6,000 acres were treated. This is the fourth year of aerial spraying in the wilderness. The pilot reported that thistle patches were fewer and much more difficult to find compared to previous years.
The herbicide, Milestone®, was chosen for this application because it effectively controls Canada thistle and is registered under the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This registration is reserved for compounds that demonstrate lower risk to the environment and humans than marketplace standards. Outside of wilderness, herbicides are being applied using backpack sprayers and ATV-mounted sprayers. Badlands Plant Ecologist Dr. Milton Haar stated, “We are pleased with the effectiveness of Milestone® and our spraying efforts.” “We are reducing the Canada thistle infestation at Badlands National Park.” Weed management efforts are coordinated with and funded in part by the Northern Great Plains Exotic Plant Management Team; a shared resource for 13 national park units in the northern Great Plains.
This project is funded by the President's Centennial Initiative for the National Park Service. For more information, please contact Milton Haar, PhD, Badlands Plant Ecologist (605) 433-5285.
Did You Know?
The yellow and red layers in the badlands formations are fossilized soils, called paleosols. Fossil root traces, burrows, and animal bones found within the soils provide scientists with evidence of environmental and climatic changes that occurred in the badlands over time.