A Cautionary Tale From The Pacific Northwest
Updated: Aug 16, 2018
From a report by: Westbrooks, R.G, Hayes, D.C. and Gregg, W.P. 2000. III. National Early Warning and Rapid Response System for Invasive Plants
Common Crupina (Crupina vulgaris Cassini), a perennial composite from southern Europe, was first noticed in the northwestern U.S. in 1968 in Idaho County, Idaho, about six miles east of Grangeville along Highway 13 on the Sammy von Bargen Ranch. The plant was first collected at the site on July 26, 1969. In 1970, a cursory survey of the area revealed that a vigorous stand of the plant dominated an area of about 40 acres. By 1981, when common crupina was listed as a Federal Noxious Weed and the University of Idaho undertook an eradication feasibility study, the infestation had increased to 23,000 acres in west central Idaho. The study, which was completed in 1988, concluded that common crupina could indeed be eradicated from the United States.
The moral of the story is that invasive species need to be detected early, reported, assessed, contained, and eliminated whenever possible. Weeds Won't Wait!
By September 1991, when a federal/state task force finally met in Lewiston, Idaho, to discuss the funding of a cooperative eradication project, common crupina had spread to 55,000 acres in Idaho, 8,000 acres in Oregon, 400 acres in Washington state, and 20 acres in California. At that meeting, due to environmental concerns about the impact of pesticides on sockeye salmon in the Salmon River, no consensus was reached by involved agencies, and the crupina eradication effort was abandoned. Since that time, crupina has continued to spread, and efforts to find a suitable/effective biological control agent have been unsuccessful (to date). Needless to say, if the original 40 acre infestation of crupina had been reported and summarily eradicated in 1968, the long term impacts of this introduced invasive plant on biodiversity and rangeland productivity in the Northwest could have been avoided... The moral of the story is that invasive species need to be detected early, reported, assessed, contained, and eliminated whenever possible. Weeds Won't Wait!