Managing invasive species is complex and often controversial. Research provides a scientific foundation for sustainable weed management. The Weed district continues to support research and new technology that will enhance weed management strategies. Five percent of the Missoula County weed mill is allocated for research and demonstration projects. Funding granted from this millage for research projects cannot be used to cover adminstrative costs.
A strong research program is imperative to the long-term success of managing invasive species for a number of reasons:
- It can be very costly to control invasive species with existinng technology. The expense to control invasive species is often greater than the economic return to the land and one of the reasons land managers find it difficult to control large infestations.
- Controlling invasive species can be complicated by environmental conditions. Steep hillsides and riparian areas both pose issues that make treatment difficulty with existing technology. There are concerns that weed control programs can impact beneficial plant communities. There is also increasing evidence of undesirable annuals coming into areas following noxious weed control. Understanding the ecology of plant communities will improve the success of long-term invasive species management.
- New knowledge is the key to keeping land managers interested and willing to take the needed steps to manage invasive species. New knowledge is also critical to the success of educational programming.
Building Bridges works to bring together a research community that is divided into a number of diverse agencies and expertise to improve dialog and support for organizing groups and/or mini-conferences around management-based research needs.
Some of the Research and Demonstration projects currently supported by the Missoula County Weed District.