Monday, March 24, 2014

Forest Health Programs of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Applying an Exotic Plant Strike Team Strategy to Improve Forest Health in Northwest Illinois

Jeff Horn, Director of Land Stewardship
Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

Invasive species cost the United States more than $120 billion in damages every year. Invasive plants species are plants brought here from elsewhere in the world that do not have natural enemies in the areas they are invading. This allows invasive plant species to spread rapidly through landscapes. This rapid spread can cause enormous damage to agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and outdoor recreation.

With funding from the USDA Forest Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and in cooperation with Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a two-person Strike Team was formed to work year-round on controlling and monitoring invasive plant species in Northwest Illinois. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) helped initiate the setup of this team.

Report available HERE
 In February of 2013 the Northwest Illinois Strike Team (NWST) began controlling and monitoring of invasive plant species in State designated nature preserves, natural areas, and lands adjacent to natural areas in six northwest Illinois counties. The NWST used mechanical methods, prescribed fire, and herbicide application to suppress established invasive weed populations and prevent future populations from establishing. The NWST prevents further spread of invasive weed populations into natural areas by responding early to new infestations. The goals of the NWST include: managing existing invasive species populations, preventing the spread of invasive species to natural areas, and re-establish native plant communities to restore health to these natural areas. Thus far, they have treated over 650 acres of invasive plants in natural areas.

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation’s mission is to conserve and enhance natural wildlife habitat, cultural heritage, scenic vistas, and the agricultural character of Jo Daviess County and the surrounding area for future generations. JDCF owns several beautiful and unique preserves all of which are open to the public for hiking, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. For more information, visit their office at 126 N Main Street in Elizabeth, IL, call (815) 858-9100, or find them online at


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