The Heartland IPMT removing Tree of Heaven in Buffalo National River.

NPS photo.

Collaboration in the Midwest

Work to manage invasive species is hardly ever done alone by a park. Here are some helpful organizations that work with parks to combat invasive threats.

Northern Great Plains Invasive Plant Management Team

The Northern Great Plains IPMT works with 14 partner parks in four states. The goal of the Northern Great Plains IPMT is to help parks accomplish restoration activities such as prescribed fire, native preserve native plant communities and historic landscapes by managing the spread of invasive plant species. The Northern Great Plains IPMT also works with park personnel plant material development, and seeding to restore sites to the desired condition. The area served by the Northern Great Plains IPMT is large, approximately 452,000 acres, and the ecology is diverse. Vast grasslands are found in some parks, others are part of the forested Black Hills, and some include parts of the Missouri, Niobrara or Knife Rivers.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies including chemical, biological, mechanical, and cultural are used to manage invasive plants.

Education and training in IPM are also IPMT priorities. Each year Northern Great Plains IPMT staff offer a week-long training session in the principles and practices of IPM for park staff, partners and IPMT seasonal employees. Field crews for the Northern Great Plains IPMT are based at either Badlands or Theodore Roosevelt National Park and travel to other parks in the network. Over the course of this year, Northern Great Plains IPMT members completed field work at 12 of the partner parks. The Montana Conservation Corps and Minnesota Conservation Corps are also integrated into field crews to increase capacity and efficiency of operations. This allows the youth employed on the Conservation Corps crews to engage in important and substantive work to further the NPS mission.

Heartlands Invasive Plant Management Team

The Heartland Network IPMT, located at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Missouri, provides invasive plant management expertise for 15 parks in the Midwest Region. Program capacities include consulting, scoping, designing, planning, implementing, and monitoring effective invasive plant management projects.

Great Lakes Invasive Plant Management Team

The Great Lakes IPMT provides support to 11 national parks across four states in the western Great Lakes Region. From the dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan, west to the scenic riverways of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and north to the boreal forests along the Canadian border, this region claims diverse aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The region contains multiple rare, significant, and globally threatened ecosystems. It is also home to an international biosphere reserve. Geographical and environmental conditions have mostly limited the impact of invasive species to those of cultural origin (ornamentals / intentionally planted). However, visitor use and necessary maintenance activities have introduced new invasive species.

The team balances its activity to meet two vastly different needs:

  1. Long-term, large-scale control and restoration, and
  2. Early detection and eradication of nascent populations.

To meet those needs, the team provides parks with focused regional expertise and skilled control work. Discipline specific knowledge and a network of partners allow the team to anticipate threats to individual parks and work toward site-specific management options. As a shared regional resource, the team either augments existing management efforts at parks or provides parks with management options.

  • St. Croix/Red Cedar CWMA
  • Wisconsin DNR
  • Minnesota DNR
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin Extension
  • Midwest Invasive Plant Network

Targeted Plant Species Watchlist for the Midwest

  • Buckthorn (Rhamnus spp.)
  • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
  • Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
  • Baby’s breath (Gypsophila spp.)
  • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Phragmites (Phragmites spp.)
  • Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos)
  • Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
  • Japanese stilitgrass (Microstegium vimineum)
  • Reed Canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)
  • Crown vetch (Securigera varia)

Case Study of Invasive Species Projects in the Midwest: Adaptive Management of Annual Bromes in the Northern Great Plains

A collaborative effort between United States Geological Survey (USGS) researchers, Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network, Northern Great Plains Fire Management, Northern Rocky Mountain IPMT, several NPS Units and NGP IPMT have continued a research project to identify best management practices for managing invasive annual grasses in the Northern Great Plains. Through this research, an adaptive management plan is being developed to assist parks in making appropriate science-based decisions for annual grass management in the Northern Great Plains. This project involves several years of treatment actions at Scotts Bluff National Monument (NM) and Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. It also includes components to increase availability of local source-identified native plant materials for restoration and best management practices for their use in restoration. A secure long-term seed storage facility has been developed at Wind Cave National Park (NP) that will ensure viable seed remains available for restoration projects in the Northern Great Plains far into the future.

Additional Links and Resources

Contacts for Further Information

Isaiah Messerly
Great Lakes IPMT Liaison
e-mail us

Brennan Hauk
Northern Great Plains IPMT Liaison
e-mail us

Craig Young
Heartland Network Terrestrial Program Manager
(417)-732-6438 x281
e-mail us

Jordan Bell
Heartland Network IPMT Project Manager
(417)-732-6438 x400
e-mail us

Last updated: September 13, 2019