The Forest Service wants your comments on the Invasive Plant Management Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is now available to the public.

The EIS proposes using approved herbicides aerially to control cheatgrass and other annual bromes on critical big-game winter ranges. The measure will also enhance native species sagebrush understories on sage-grouse habitats found on the the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland (MBRTB).

Cheatgrass in particular needs to be control, because it is an aggressive seed producer that can displace native plants within grassland habitats. According to the Forest Service, many western states struggle to control the cheatgrass invasion.

The Forest Service further states that aerial herbicide application is a tool that will increase effectiveness and efficiency in controlling further spread of cheatgrass. Aaron Voos, with the Medicine Bow National Forest Service, explains the Forest Service’s rationale for preferring aerial action :Aaron Voos on Aerial Herbicides

The EIS must be approved by the National Policy Act before aerial herbicides can be used on Forest Lands.

Listed below are alternatives contained in the EIS draft:

  • Under alternative 1 (no action, no change from current management), the current weed management program would continue. Herbicides would only be applied using ground-based methods; aerial application would not be used.
  • Alternative 2, the proposed action, would expand current management to include treatment of new invasive species; use of new, more species-specific, EPA-registered herbicides; aerial herbicide application; and new protection measures.
  • Alternative 3 is the same as alternative 2, except it would not include aerial herbicide application.
  • Alternative 4 would treat invasive plants using only mechanical, biological, and cultural weed control methods; herbicides would not be used.

The Forest Service is located at 2468 Jackson Street,Laramie, WY 82070-6535. All comments to the Forest Service must state specific facts and information to be considered,  and include an address, contact information and organization represented if applicable.

For more information, contact Aaron Voos at (307) 745-2323.