This episode of Playa Country is a report on woody shrub invasions and control efforts in Nebraska. Biologist Kirk Schroeder of Grand Island enumerates particular weeds invading Nebraska: phragmites is a growing problem in waterways and riparian land, Russian Olive and Eastern Red Cedar are invading uplands. Tom Hartman of Grand Island manages the family ranch at Scotia, NE, and faced an onslaught of ERC.
He and neighbors have been controlling with mechanical removal followed by fire. NRCS rangeland management specialist David Kraft says controlling the invasives is too big and expensive for ranchers to tackle unassisted, and discusses the importance - and successes of - multi-agency partnerships to pay for control initiatives. Kansas rancher Eva Yearout, on a trip through NE, noticed large invasions of ERC in 2011.
Part two of a five-part series on Playa Country; airs Tuesday, December 31, 2013 on High Plains Public Radio.