Harlan County Dam Project (2006)

In 2006 Twin Valley Weed Management Area obtained State and Federal Grants, and additional funds totaling $125,000. The money was used to spray 640 acres of exposed lake bed at Harlan County Dam. At the time Harlan County Dam was 19 foot below full pool, which exposed 4,000 acres of lake bed, which in varying degrees was infested with Salt Cedar, Phragmites, and Canada Thistle. The spraying took place in late summer, and was applied by Helicopter. The chemical Habitat was used, which is labeled for aquatic use. Habitat moves slowly threw the entire plant including the extensive root system, resulting in greater control. Inspections the following year reported excellent results..

Eastern Republican Riparian Project (2007-2009)

Twin Valley Weed Management Area (TVWMA) began work on the Eastern Republican Riparian Project in 2007 in anticipation of LB 701 funding. This project continues and dramatically expands ongoing efforts to control invasive riparian plants around Harlan County Reservoir and along the Republican River and it’s tributaries. Such control efforts will be conducted in a holistic manner, utilizing a full range of mechanical, biological, and chemical tools to eradicate invasive species and control vegetation in stream channels.

Work began with the writing of a grant application, and identification of landowners along a 77 mile section , approximately 1500 acres, of the Republican River between Harlan County Dam and the Kansas-Nebraska border. It was determined that landowners in that area totaled 180. Information about the proposed project was published in the area newspapers, and three informational meetings were held in Superior, Red Cloud, and Franklin. An agreement was drafted for access to the landowner properties and the process of getting landowner signatures began. This process required a great deal of time and effort, and in the end all but 5 landowners signed.

In July grant awards for LB 701 were announced and TVWMA received $773,000. Bid specifications were published for chemical application by ground and air, as well as a project coordinator. Skycopter was awarded the aerial application and Chemtrol was awarded the ground application. Merle Illian was hired as project coordinator.

As of the date of this article 1,100 acres has been sprayed on the Republican River, and 750 acres has been sprayed on Harlan County Reservoir. Additional work will be required next year in Harlan and Furnas Counties, and cleaning up misses on the treated areas. The ground work for the next phase of the project has commenced, which is mechanical removal.

This has been a very large project which needed to be executed in a restricted time period, requiring the extensive time and resources of all our members involved in TVWMA and its many partners. I think this a very good example of how collective cooperation and effort of many agencies, groups, and individuals can win the war on invasives in Nebraska.

River Management

Another phase completed by TVWMA was the purchase of an all terrain vehicle. TVWMA determined that when the Eastern Republican River Riparian Project was completed a combination of management practices should be implemented for maintenance of a healthy riparian river system. The all terrain vehicle was needed for a portion of the maintenance. The LB 701 funds provided for half of the purchase price and the other half was provided from the Lower Republican and Tri-Basin Natural Resource Districts. The Natural Resource Districts also set aside funds for maintenance and storage of the equipment. The all terrain vehicle is equipped with a spraying system, and will be used by TVWMA members for scouting, spraying, and other duties needed to complete the present project, and future maintenance.