This collaborative proposal includes SKCE, Montana State University (MSU) Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) and Ecology, MSU Pollinator Health Center, The University of Montana Biological Sciences (UM), and the CSKT NRD.
The specific aims are: (1) to address expansion of exotic plants invading thousands of hectares of grasslands across the region by testing and evaluating herbicide and seeding strategies and (2) evaluating subsequent potential improvements for native pollinators habitat.
Grasslands of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana comprise the easternmost extent of the Palouse Prairie, a grassland that has been 85% extirpated from its former range and is considered a critically endangered ecosystem and globally threatened resource (Chadde 1992, Noxx 1995). Land use conversion, over grazing, and invasive plants have degraded these grasslands, resulting in native vegetation being replaced by non-native annual grasses and forbs which do not provide the same grazing, wildlife habitat, and foraging resources for native pollinating insects that native vegetation had. Grasslands not yet degraded are subject to invasion if tools are not developed and implemented to act as a determent.