Crews fight oxeye daisy in Shoshone National Forest

Sep 3, 2017 From staff reports

From high in the Absaroka Mountains above Dubois, a forest invader has been trying to creep down into the Wind River drainage.

Over the past several years, the Shoshone National Forest and Fremont County Weed and Pest have hired horsepack crews to spray invasive oxeye daisy in an effort to slow the spread at its source where oxeye daisy infests over 100 acres at the Wilderness Area boundary, among other areas.

Those crews have had some success. This year, however, the agencies are greatly increasing the scope of the project.

In July, about 20 FCWP personnel treated oxeye daisy with backpack sprayers along a 7-mile stretch of river -- on foot negotiating slippery cobblestone streambanks and making numerous river crossings.

Their work tied together areas covered earlier this summer by horsepack contractors on the uppermost reaches of the infestation with an area farther down the drainage that FCWP plans to have treated this fall by a horsepack crew.

The work, which is difficult and slow-going because of the remote, mountainous terrain, is paid for by a grant from the Shoshone National Forest Resource Advisory Committee.

"If all goes as planned we'll complete a treatment of the entire infestation for the first time ever this year," said FCWP supervisor Aaron Foster. "It's important to us because it's one of the few infestations of oxeye daisy in the county. It's located high above the Wind River drainage. We're trying to protect the Wind River drainage and hayfields that are located below. We also want to keep it from spreading over the mountains into Park County."

Where the infestation came from is unknown, but it's likely it arrived as seeds in horse manure or from contaminated hay.

"Backcountry infestations like this are the reason certified Weed Free Feed is required on federal lands and should be used elsewhere as much as possible," Foster said.

Oxeye daisy is a perennial from Eurasia that escaped ornamental cultivation in the United States.

It a Designated Noxious Weed in Wyoming where it typically infests forested areas and meadows mostly in the northwestern part of the state.

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