Ag Committee Hears Report on Invasive Grasses

Brian Mealor, standing, shows potted plants to ag committee members. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Brian Mealor, standing, shows potted plants to ag committee members. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Information on the two newest invasive grasses in Sheridan County, Medusahead and ventenata, was presented at this month's meeting of the county's ag and natural resources committee.

Brian Mealor, who's director of the UW Research and Extension Center in Sheridan, said self-sustaining populations of both have been found in the county.

Mealor said a ventenata plant was in fact collected by a botanist on the National Guard training ground outside Sheridan in 1997. But populations of the two invasive grasses were only confirmed last year. He said both plants are reported to be of very poor forage quality.

He said both species could have pretty severe economic impacts on the area. He said populations of ventenata have been found in the Dayton-Ranchester area and as far as Story as well as east of Wyarno and north of Gillette in Campbell County. He said the area in which the plant is found covers around 750,000 acres.

Luke Sander, who's the supervisor of the Sheridan County Weed and Pest District, said a working group has been formed to develop a plan of attack against the two grasses. He said the group has a tentative five-year plan, with a more detailed two-year plan.

He said a big part of this summer will be trying to identify exactly where the invasive grasses are, and he said the first priority will be dealing with Medusahead, because the two known infestations are on state lands that have public access. He said both are in the Dayton-Ranchester area a couple of miles apart.

View more photos below.

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Luke Sander, left, and Brian Mealor. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Luke Sander, left, and Brian Mealor. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Mealor talking about the appearance of the plants. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Mealor talking about the appearance of the plants. (Photo by Pat Blair)
SheridanWyoming.com

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