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Timeline
 

1827: First documentation of leafy spurge in U.S. (Massachusetts).

1876: Leafy Spurge found in New York and identified as a "rare plant."

1881: Leafy Spurge found in Michigan.

1909: Leafy spurge first recognized in North Dakota.

1913: Leafy spurge recognized in at least four states and Canadian provinces.

1921: Leafy spurge first labeled as a “weed” in a New York Herald editorial.

1933: Leafy spurge occupies 19 states and several Canadian provinces.

1949-50: Leafy spurge occurs in all Canadian provinces except Newfoundland.

1950s: Efforts to manage leafy spurge with herbicides begin.

1960s: Efforts to manage leafy spurge with biological control begin.

1964: First leafy spurge biocontrol agent in U.S. (the Hyles hawk moth) is released.

1970: Leafy spurge occupies 26 states.

1978: Entomologists at the CIBC (now CABI-Biosciences) initiate a search for host-specific Aphthona spp. leafy spurge flea beetles in Europe. The search identifies four flea beetles – A. cyparissiae, czwalinae, flava and nigriscutus – for further study; all are ultimately imported and released.

1979: First Leafy Spurge Symposium. Much of the framework for today’s local, state and federal leafy spurge management programs was constructed at these annual meetings.

1979: Leafy spurge occupies 30 states.

1985: First Aphthona flea beetle (A. flava) released.

1988: USDA-APHIS begins leafy spurge biological control program.

1989: Aphthona nigriscutis approved and released.

1990: Researchers determine that leafy spurge infestations double in acreage every 10 years.

1991: Agricultural economists at North Dakota State University estimate the ANNUAL economic impact of leafy spurge at $144 million for the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming.

1993: Aphthona lacertosa approved and released.

1996: Proposal for TEAM Leafy Spurge area-wide program submitted.

1997: TEAM Leafy Spurge is selected as the USDA-ARS’s first area-wide integrated pest manage- ment program to focus on a weed pest. The USDA-APHIS is named as a co-manager of the 5-year program.
Leafy spurge occupies 35 states and several Canadian provinces; movement to the south and east is widely documented.
Agricultural Economists at North Dakota State University estimate that leafy spurge infestations in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming will peak at 1.865 million acres, and that biological control programs could potentially control 65 percent of the estimated infestation.

1998: TEAM work: Fiscal agreements with 13 "partners" help ensure teamwork, cooperation, and the sharing of data and resources. Seventy-three percent of TLS’s total funding is spent on research and demonstration projects outside of the USDA-ARS.
Extensive inventory and assessment data is collected at TLS research and demonstration sites.
More than two million leafy spurge flea beetles are collected and redistributed to ranchers, landowners and land managers in the Little Missouri River drainage.
TEAM Leafy Spurge program participants complete their first season in the field.

1999: TEAM Leafy Spurge hosts "Spurgefest ‘99" in Medora, N.D. Approximately 250 ranchers, land owners, land and weed managers, and Extension agents from 18 states and several Canadian provinces attend the educational and informational event. Sponsors include Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota State University, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, BASF Corporation, Dow Agrisciences Corporation and Monsanto. Some people drive for 13 hours to learn about biologically based IPM strategies for leafy spurge and get flea beetles. The event is immediately deemed a success.
TEAM work: Fiscal agreements with 24 partners help ensure teamwork, cooperation, and the sharing of data and resources. Sixty-eight percent of TLS’s total funding is spent on research and demonstration projects outside of the USDA-ARS.
More than 20 million Aphthona spp. flea beetles are collected and redistributed to ranchers, landowners and land managers at Spurgefest and tours of TLS research and demonstration sites. Collectively, insects were distributed to more than 200 people from 50 different counties in seven states. Some people drive several hundred miles, spending as much as 13 hours on the road, to get flea beetles.
TEAM Leafy Spurge personnel "get the word out" by hosting field day events in Medora, N.D., Buffalo, S.D., Ekalaka, Mt., and Devil’s Tower, Wyo. TEAM Leafy Spurge personnel also attend numerous meetings, seminars, state weed control association meetings and public events like the Marketplace of Ideas (Bismarck, N.D.) and the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (Billings, Mt.) to distribute information about IPM strategies for leafy spurge.
Despite management efforts, data collected via GIS and GPS technologies suggests that leafy spurge is doubling in acreage every five years, more than twice as fast as previously documented.

2000: More than 16 million Aphthona spp. flea beetles were collected and distributed to ranchers, landowners and land managers at TEAM Leafy Spurge field day events throughout the four-state region. TLS has now collected and redistributed more than 40 million flea beetles -- enough for more than 13,000 new release sites -- during the past three years.
TEAM Leafy Spurge publishes the "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge" handbook. The how-to manual is an immediate hit; more than 14,000 copies are distributed to end users in 16 states and several Canadian provinces during its first six weeks of publication.
TEAM Leafy Spurge research and demonstration sites show impressive results. Dramatic reductions in leafy spurge densities are obvious at sites showcasing biological control, multi-species grazing, multi-species grazing + biological control, and herbicides. Flea beetle populations at the TEAM demonstration site in Sentinel Butte, N.D., explode. Spurge reductions are estimated at 75-85 percent.
TEAM Leafy Spurge sponsors field day events in Buffalo, S.D., and Ekalaka, Mt., and again participates in numerous meetings, seminars and public events.
Lending a Hand: TLS regularly works with a varied and diverse group that includes (but is not limited to) ranchers, landowners, land managers, county Extension agents, weed officers and a multitude of local, state and federal entities.
TEAM work: Fiscal agreements with 17 partners help ensure teamwork, cooperation and the sharing of ideas and resources. Sixty-five percent of TEAM's total funding for the years is spent on research and demonstration projects outside of the USDA-ARS.
Wildfires that ravage western Montana are attributed, in part, to invasive weeds.

2001: TEAM Leafy Spurge is featured on the BBC’s "Earth Report," a documentary-style environmental news program. The episode, "Alien Invaders," is broadcast in 220 countries to a possible audience of 167 million viewers.
Distribution of the TEAM Leafy Spurge "Biological Control of Leafy Spurge" handbook hits 30,000.
TLS hosts "Spurgefest II," a follow-up to "Spurgefest ‘99." More than 300 people attend the event, including representatives from the national Invasive Species Council.
TEAM Leafy Spurge sponsors field day events in Buffalo, S.D., and Ekalaka, Mt., and again participates in numerous meetings, seminars and public events.
TEAM Leafy Spurge releases several new informational products, including:

  • "Multi-Species Grazing and Leafy Spurge." A companion to the "Biological Control and Leafy Spurge" manual, this handbook focuses on grazing as a leafy spurge management tool.

  • "IPM Information Series/Biological Control of Leafy Spurge CD." This CD includes a narrated PowerPoint presentation, the biocontrol manual, catalogs of photos, informative profiles of biocontrol agents, and miscellaneous resources.

  • "Purge Spurge: Leafy Spurge Database" CD-ROM. " This update to the award-winning database last published in 1995 includes a new design, several new resources and more than 800 documents pertaining to leafy spurge, from in-depth technical journals and conference and symposium proceedings to Extension bulletins and magazine articles.

 

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