Spurgefest 2; June 19-21, 20001; Medora, ND 2001 Spurgefest II
Symposium Proceedings
Medora, ND, June 19-21, 2001

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In 1997 The Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) Leafy Spurge program be-came a reality. The program was funded as part of the USDA-ARS Area-wide Program and conducted cooperatively with the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The original concept of the program was to conduct demonstrations of inte-grated leafy spurge management strategies for state, federal and private land managers.

The TEAM Leafy Spurge (TLS) program has evolved substantially since its incep-tion. Nineteen ninety seven saw the departure of the USDA-ARS Co-Principal Investi-gator, Dr. Paul Quimby Jr. and the subsequent assignment of Dr. Gerald L. Anderson as the ARS Co-Principal Investigator along with Dr. Lloyd Wendel of USDA-APHIS. The scope of the program was broadened to include research needed to complement the ex-isting body of work, public relations and education became a major priority, and due to the abundance of biological control agents - the program distributed more than 40 million insects within the four state study region, as well as, three additional states (enough for more than 13,000 releases). TLS will distribute an additional 20 million insects within the original study area plus Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho and two Canadian Provinces if all goes as planned in 2001.

The papers presented in these proceedings represent the culmination of three to four years of research and demonstration, conducted in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyo-ming and Montana. TLS will officially end 30 September 2001, however, a great deal of work remains. ARS will continue to provide administrative support for the next one to two years to ensure research and demonstration results are synthesized, published and provided to users in a usable format.

How will TLS be remembered? Hopefully we will be remembered for conducting a fair, comprehensive and coordinated approach to leafy spurge management. The intent of the program managers and the ad-hoc advisory committee continues to be heightening awareness of the problem leafy spurge poses and the various integrated pest management tools needed to effectively manage the weed. Program development was also designed to establish of a new level of understanding and increase the participation of individuals in all sectors of society.

Two parting thoughts from the Principal Investigators:

  1. Given the state of our agricultural economy and current funding levels, leafy spurge and other invasive weeds are not a problem we can expect landowners and land managers to deal with effectively alone. This means that we all have to be proactive in supporting local weed control efforts in the private and public sector. Simply put, invasive weeds are everybodyís problem regardless of how the situa-tion came about. We will never legislate weeds away nor will we kill a single weed by pointing fingers at those who are "the problem", but we can work to-gether to ensure sufficient resources are available to get the job done. This ex-tends to federal and state lands as well. Under funded and unfunded mandates have already stretched most agencies beyond their ability to comply with existing invasive weed mandates. We encourage you to remember that federal and state lands belong to all of us and if they are not being managed properly, then it is up to us to ensure they have the resources needed to meet the obligations that have been placed on them.

  2. Integrated pest management (IPM) provides the only hope for successfully con-trolling invasive weeds and preventing the establishment of new problem species. But, IPM is more than a set of weed management tools. True IPM includes the integration of landowners, land managers, policy makers and agency decision makers. If you are on the front lines of the weed control battle and there arenít at least ten people tripping over their feet trying to provide you with support, then something is wrong. Donít stop the fight, simply start contacting your state and federal representatives and impress upon them that your income is as important to our nation and your state as it is to you and your family.

TLS has contributed to our understanding of the weed and how to control it. How-ever, the success achieved during the program was only possible because of the contribu-tions of countless individuals who have been fighting invasive weeds most of their careers, and in some cases their all their lives. Thank you for your efforts and thanks to all the partners that participated in the program. TLS is your program and we hope that TLS under girded your efforts and promoted new management approaches that will be useful for years to come. The legacy of TLS is yet to be determined, but we hope it will be this - TLS made a difference - in controlling leafy spurge and in providing an effective example for future invasive weed programs.

Dr. Gerald L. Anderson
Sidney, MT
Dr. Lloyd Wendel
Mission, TX

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