North Bend Mini-Mart. Click to see this week's specials!

North Bend Eagle

 

 

Noxious weeds threatening Platte

by Mary Le Arneal
published 07/22/09

The 120 miles of the lower Platte River is becoming narrow and clogged with vegetation. The 2009 Lower Platte Vegetation Management Project (LPVMP) is taking the action needed to prevent the weeds, purple loosestrife and phragmites, from taking over.

“In the North Bend area it has spread from the State Lakes to the Colfax County line,” Dodge County Weed Control Superintendent Larry Klahn said.
Last fall, Klahn sprayed phragmites from an airboat and got a pretty good response. Some of his work can be seen east of the Platte River bridge on the Morse Bluff side.

“I sprayed that patch last year,” Klahn said. “You can see where I ran out of hose and there is a green patch of phragmites.”

Phragmite is a non-native plant similar to a native common reed and is rapidly spreading in waterways and lakes across Nebraska. This tall, grass-like plant can grow up to 20 feet tall and form thick, dense stands making many areas inaccessible and pushing out native vegetation.

The LPVMP is funded by a grant from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture with matching funds from Dodge, Saunders, Butler, Colfax and Platte counties. The funds are all for the spraying of phragmites. The total cost for helicopter spraying of phragmites is $124 per acre. With the grant, $104 of that cost is covered and landowners are asked to pay the remaining $20 per acre.

In Dodge County there are 161 acres that are earmarked to be sprayed. There are 20 landowners involved and all have been contacted about paying their share of the cost. These individuals own from one-quarter of an acre to one individual who owns 104 acres.

“I have had a response from 12 of the land owners and ten have signed a contract as of July 16,” Klahn said. “I am contacting the others by phone now. I hope to get all of them to sign by August 10 when we hope to start spraying.”

Klahn said there are other options to get the owners to control the noxious weeds on their land, but participating with the LPVMP will be the least expensive one for them.

The Platte River has usually had increased spring flow to scour off seasonal vegetation. With the recent dry periods, upstream use of water and lack of management, the noxious weeds have taken hold.

The change of the Platte River has impacted the area with the increased potential for major flooding and ice jams, reduced habitat for endangered species, decreased recreational and hunting use, as well as decreased market value of the land.

The helicopter application of the herbicide is the most effective means to control phragmites.

Klahn said the landowners contacted have been pretty receptive to the project after he explains it.

“Each one said they notice little patches (of phragmites) each spring keep getting bigger,” Klahn said. “If we don’t get it killed off, it’s going to take over.”

Anyone with questions can contact Klahn at 727-2718 or on his cell phone at (402) 720-1412. There is an information sheet, and infestation map which can be obtained from Klahn or by going to the web site www.lowerplattewma.org.

<<Back to the archives page