By Roger Dey
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

Lincoln Vegetation Management Group awarded weed control grant


A local weed group developed in Lincoln in 2015 secured a $19,400 grant from the Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant program last month to help them implement the first phase of a project to help area landowners pay for weed treatments.

The Lincoln Vegetation Management Group originally applied for a grant of nearly $50,000, to help cover weed treatment costs throughout the entire Upper Blackfoot Valley.

Karyn Good, who helped develop the group while working as a community coordinator for the Wilderness Society, said she wasn’t surprised they were awarded less than the full request, since they are such a young organization.

“We’re speculating that they want to see how this project goes,” she said. “Do we actually use it, do landowners take advantage of it? How organized are we? If we can get some work done, next year we could get the $50,000 grant.”

Since the group didn’t receive full funding, the group is focusing on two areas near Lincoln.

“The (group) broke up the Lincoln Valley into five zones,” group member Bill Cyr said. “It is the two zones that lie west of Stemple Pass Road and Sucker Creek Road, so basically the west half of the valley, not including the town site of Lincoln.”

The area designated as the Keep Cool area covers 41,494 acres north of Highway 200, while the Dalton Mountain area covers 28,891 acres south of the highway.

Good said they are concentrating on those two areas based largely on landowner interest.

“These were the players who were showing up and really showing an interest in the grant,” she said.

Cyr said the first applicants who will be funded under the cost-share arrangement will be the landowners who said they had a project ready to go last fall.

“As they apply, if they meet the criteria, we will fund them 50 percent.” he said. “If they hire a contractor to do with whole contract, chemical and labor, it’s still 50 percent.”

The criteria basically boils down to being a landowner in the two areas who wants to be included on the group’s list.

“(If) there’s still money to be spent, they’ll get it,” Cyr said.

The main noxious weeds landowners deal with in the Lincoln Valley include spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, common mullein, bindweed, whitetop, Canada thistle and Dalmatian toadflax.

The challenge now is to make sure landowners take advantage of the funding.

Cyr said its landowners should take advantage of the funding for a couple of reasons. “It’s important to try to control weeds. I think this will help people to do that; but I also think with a little bit of success, we can start building on success. We anticipate applying for this grant again based on the success of the first go round.”

“Hopefully we’re gonna continue doing these grants,” he said, “but if things kind of fizzle out and nobody starts using the money, we probably aren’t gonna get grants for very long and weeds are gonna continue to grow.”

Jordan Reeves, Conservation Specialist with the Wilderness Society, helped coordinate the first meetings of the Lincoln Vegetation Management group. He told the BVD in the impetus for the group began with broad-based local concerns brought up in conversations with area landowners.

“Working to combat the spread of noxious weeds was something we all agreed on- whether you were a snowmobiler, a logger, a rancher, an ATV rider, a business owner, or a conservationist, we all wanted to work together to fight weeds,” Reeves said in an e-mail.

With concerns about weeds establishing themselves in areas burned by last year’s fires, the grant provides landowners with property affected by or bordering the fire areas with a source of funding they can tap into to help protect their land from invasive noxious weeds.

“North Powell County weeds group and the Blackfoot Challenge were very instrumental in helping us get started,” Cyr said. “We kind of modeled after them. They came up and showed us some of the things they’ve done that worked and we continue to work with them.”

Reeves said the group also received support expertise and resources from the Ponderosa Snow Warriors, the US Forest Service, and both Powell and Lewis and Clark Counties as they laid the groundwork for the grant through community weed education days.

“There is a lot of important work to do now to make the most of this grant and to build from this initial effort to improve the health of Lincoln’s grasslands and forests,” Reeves said.


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