Aerial Documentation of Biocontrol of Purple Loosestrife

Project ID: 841
Principal Investigator: Ed Holroyd
Research Topic: Invasive Species
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004
Keywords: None

Research Question

Aerial photography of the Winchester Wasteway, central Washington, from 1995-2000 has shown the rapid expansion of the areas of biocontrol of purple loosestrife. Most of the data has been previously analyzed and entered into a Geographic Information System (GIS) for quantification of the results. Preliminary results have been shared with the scientific community on an informal basis. This Science and Technology (S&T) Program research project seeks the opportunity to complete the analysis of the 2000 photography (about 60 percent remains to be done) and to write a final report for publication in an appropriate journal.

Need and Benefit

Infestations of wetlands by the invasive species purple loosestrife cause a consumptive use and blockage of water resources that provides little benefit to irrigation, recreation, and wildlife needs. Aerial photography of biocontrol of loosestrife in the Winchester Wasteway, central Washington, was initiated in 1995 with release of biocontrol insects. Obvious degradation of the species infestation was observed in 1998. Rapid expansion of the area of suppressed loosestrife was observed in 1999 and 2000. Preliminary analyses have documented the expansion of the biocontrol in terms of radial distance (many kilometers) and total area.

A byproduct of the analyses has been preliminary data on the expansion of a variety of Phragmites, a cane (very tall reed) that is a more aggressive invader that can severely block water passage while consuming water for its own growth. The proposed research will complete the final year analysis and prepare a quantitative report for publication in an appropriate journal. The report will document a Reclamation "success story" and promote a technology transfer to other geographic locations within and beyond Reclamation lands. It also will provide maps of Phragmites locations and amounts by which to plan control actions and evaluate their effectiveness.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17