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High Plains Weed Management Area began the Platte River Invasive Species Eradication and Control Project in 2008.  This project area is located in the Nebraska Panhandle and covers all of Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, Deuel, Cheyenne, Kimball, Banner, and part of Sioux counties in Nebraska.

Taking a truly “watershed” approach, the objectives of the Platte River Invasive Species Eradication and Control Project include flood control, wildlife habitat and increasing the available water supply.  Our primary invader is the Russian olive tree – a species that not only chokes out native vegetation, but also depletes water supplies and increases the danger of flooding along the Platte River and its tributaries.

To battle Russian olive, trees must be sheared or sawed with a clean trunk cut at ground level.  For the Platte River Invasive Species Eradication and Control Project, Marshall Saws, Dougherty Saws and hydraulic shears will be used, as well as hand operated chain saws when necessary.  The mechanical mechanisms are mounted with an herbicide supply tank and spray nozzle attachment, allowing operator to spray the freshly cut immediately.

Chemical must be applied to the cut area within 15 minutes or the tree will seal the stump and not allow the herbicide to penetrate into the root system.  Re-growth of the Russian olive may occur from extended roots or from the seed source that each tree produces; these sprouts are very easy to control with herbicides or grazing.  A follow-up treatment is required to control the sprouting.  Because complete eradication is the desired goal, follow-up treatments will extend for several years.

Continued treatment will promote the return of native vegetation, including grasses and shrubs; this will enhance the rehabilitation of native wildlife species.