The Bureau of Land Management Prineville district office is using aerial spraying to treat noxious weeds and invasive non-native weeds on BLM land affected by wildfires last year.
The BLM will treat 34,000 acres with the herbicide imazapic, with the treatments designed to keep public lands “healthy and productive,” according to a statement on the BLM website.
Application of the herbicide is weather dependent and may occur anytime through Sept. 30, according to the BLM. In addition to facilitating more productive public lands, the treatment attempts to minimize the impact to other resources including water, wildlife, wilderness and recreation.
Areas burned by the Boxcar, Long Hollow, Substation, Seale and Jennies Peak Fires will be treated. The largest of these fires, the Boxcar Fire, burned 100,207 acres one mile southeast of Maupin. Other burned areas are located near Dufur, The Dalles, Condon and Fossil.
A pre-burn analysis of the area identified one third of the approximately 70,000 acres of BLM lands burned in the wildfires as being infested by noxious and invasive annual grasses. The analysis said the entire project area would be infested in seven years if left untreated.
Members of the public are advised to stay out of those areas during spraying and for 12 hours after the spray process is complete. The Bureau reports it will not spray any area within 100 feet of the Lower Deschutes and John Day rivers.
Entrances to these public lands will be posted with herbicide and specific closure information prior to spraying.
Imazapic is a selective herbicide for annual and perennial grasses and some broadleaf weeds, according to The Nature Conservancy. It is relatively non-toxic to birds, and amphibians.