Is �Car Wash� on Your Packing List by ysiClB


									Is “Car Wash” on Your Packing List?

If you’re headed out to hunt or fish this    fall, don’t forget one of the most important pre-trip tasks - a
trip to the car wash! Yes, that’s right - a car wash before you leave home could go a long way toward
keeping our wildlife habitat healthy and sustainable. A study by the Montana State University found that a
vehicle driven several feet through a spotted knapweed infestation could pick up as many as 2,000 weed
seeds. The weed seeds then travel with the vehicle and can be knocked loose anywhere along the
vehicle’s route, most likely when the vehicle leaves a smooth highway surface and travels along a rough
road. Because more folks than ever are accessing popular wildlife areas, the potential for weed seed
dispersal by vehicles is extremely high. An additional problem is that, given the isolated and remote
location of many wildlife areas, a new weed infestation may go undetected and therefore untreated for
some time, providing a seed source for additional infestations while expanding to an unmanagable size.
 In south Phillips County, which remains largely weed-free, the federal agencies, private landowners, and
special interest groups have combined forces to provide a mobile weed wash station for area visitors. The
group, known as the Rancher Stewardship Alliance (RSA), will provide the station, free of charge, at the
Dry Fork Road in the CMR National Wildlife Refuge during the opening weekend of rifle hunting season.
The station is a self-contained unit equipped with spray bars and high pressure wands to clean
conventional vehicles or off-highway-vehicle undercarriages. While it is not the complete solution to new
weed infestations, it is one more tool in the tool box and will be worth the effort if it prevents even one
new infestation. You can help this effort by washing your vehicle’s undercarriage before you leave home.
No matter where you’ve been or where you’re going, you could be carrying weed seeds and could,
unknowingly, bring a devastating new weed to your favorite wildlife area. w

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