The Weed Control/Wildlife Habitat project

The Weed Control/Wildlife Habitat project was started in 2006 and offered a one-on-one technical assistance program for landowners enrolled in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The program is designed to increase a landowner’s ability to identify and control noxious and invasive weeds on the land enrolled in CREP while enhancing wildlife habitat.

Through the Weed Control/Wildlife Habitat Management program, the Endless Mountains RC&D Council and its partners worked with landowners enrolled in CREP by providing information and resources on how to identify and manage noxious and invasive weeds on their property, while emphasizing the beneficial plants that improve wildlife habitat. Controlling noxious weeds is a requirement of CREP participants; however, some landowners have difficulty recognizing these weeds in their early and middle stages of growth prior to the plants becoming fully established and difficult to control. This unique project offered an opportunity for landowners to ask questions, seek advice and gain a better understanding of why and how to control noxious and invasive weeds on their property.

While noxious weed control is important in and of itself, it is a critical component for attaining the ultimate goal of creating and maintaining high quality wildlife habitat on land enrolled in CREP.  This project not only focused on weed control, but also addressed how beneficial plants diversify the habitat on CREP land to benefit wildlife. Since many beneficial forbs and grasses for wildlife may be mistaken for noxious or invasive plants, it is equally important to help landowners identify the desirable plant species.

Because of the response to the one-on-one technical assistance, a DVD was produced to help landowners get all the tools they need to grow a successful conservation weed planting. This DVD is available for purchase for $7.95.

Technical assistance and funding for this project was provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Other key partners in the project included Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Penn State Cooperative Extension, PA Game Commission, PA Department of Environmental Protection, and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.