The Sun River Watershed, like most of Montana, has experienced a steady increase of noxious weed infestation, particularly spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), and houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale). While some areas of Montana have suffered tremendous economic and habitat loss due to noxious weeds, proactive management of noxious weeds in the Sun River Watershed is still cost-effective and physically manageable in most areas. However, chronic weed problems exist along riparian corridors, roadways and access points to public lands. In an ever-growing number of cases, weeds are spreading from stream corridors to adjacent private and public lands. Both formal and informal weed management initiatives in the Sun River Watershed will continue to center around drainages, as landowners tend to organize themselves this way. Additionally, drainages are a conduit for the spread of seeds and control methods are more complex in riparian areas because chemical and vehicle use is more restricted. Fighting weeds in these corridors require a lot of labor and creativity to be successful. Sun River Watershed Group partners have substantially increased weed management on irrigated lands. Finally, by expanding weed management areas by subdrainage, we expect to improve cooperative efforts across a broad area of the Sun River Watershed. The areas that are included in these active efforts are the:
- Sun River Valley Ditch Company
- Fort Shaw Irrigation District
- Greenfields Irrigation District
- Fairfield Bench area
- Broken O Ranch area
- Upper Sun River tributaries
- Sun Canyon
Each summer, the Sun River Watershed Group hosts our Weed Whacker Rodeo. Volunteers spend the morning pulling weeds, followed by a BBQ lunch, awards, and door prizes.
SRWG also partners with the US Forest Service, the Rocky Mountain Front Range Round Table, and other partners each year to host several other weed pulls and weed spray days.
SRWG Annual Weed Pull
For over 20 years, the Sun River Watershed Group has organized a weed pull, known as the Weed Wacker Rodeo. Volunteers pull hundreds of pounds of weeds, enjoy lunch, win prizes, and spend the day enjoying the Sun River Watershed. This event is held on the second Saturday of July.
In 2019, 24 volunteers pulled nearly 250 pounds of knapweed in just a few hours. Thanks to local community businesses, SRWG was able to provide a BBQ, refreshments, and prizes for all participants. Thanks to everyone who came out to help and we’ll see YOU next year!
Partner Weed Events
The Sun River Watershed Group partners with the US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Ranger Districts of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest to host a series of local spray days. These events, held annually in the spring and fall, match local landowners with the resources to address weeds in their area. By working together, we help make a difference on both public and private lands. Contact Jim Spinder for information about this year’s events.
SRWG also helps support weed pulls organized by the Rocky Mountain Front Weed Roundtable. Find out more about RMFWR and their events at www.rmfweedroundtable.org.