In 2013, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota Extension, and Conservation Corps Minnesota received funding to begin a statewide project on public and private lands for detection, outreach, survey, and control of target invasive plant species. The goal of the Elimination of Target Invasive Plant Species (ETIPS) project is to protect forest, grassland, and prairie habitats. Invasive plant eradication is cheapest, easiest, and least harmful to the environment if small populations of those plants are found and controlled before they become damaging and widespread.
Phase 1 of the project was completed June 30, 2016 and Phase 2 began on July 1, 2016. Phase 2 continues the work from Phase 1, as well as expands the training capacity by developing online training, tests whether a drone will increase survey efficiency, and adds plants to the target species list. An additional project partner, St. Croix River Association, will receive funding for survey work along the St. Croix River Watershed, a high priority conservation area.
This project is supported by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Infestations of the five target species were contained as a result of this project. Treatments were initiated in 2014 and will continue in Phase 2 of the project. 1,360 total acres were treated in nine counties: Cook, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Kittson, Mower, Wabasha, Washington, and Winona.
Meetings and trainings were held with landowners and local leaders at multiple sites to demonstrate how to identify, monitor, and treat target plants to prevent reinfestation. The impact of this project is far-reaching, with landowners continuing control work on their own lands, county weed management areas and watershed districts funding cost-share programs to assist landowners with invasive plant control, and the countless people recognizing and reporting invasive plants around the state.