In addition to reducing fire hazards, this herbicide application will aid in the battle against invasive plant species in the park. The railroad tracks create an environment of disturbance that encourages the spread of invasive plants. Currently, more than 30 non-native species are found in close proximity to the railroad tracks. This treatment will not only help reduce the number of invasive plants found in the area, but will also help reduce the transportation of seeds and plant parts that spread these species.
The herbicides being used for this project are ThrottleTM and Landmark®, which are broad spectrum herbicides. These herbicides works through inhibiting plant specific enzymes necessary for healthy plant growth. These herbicides will kill live vegetation, will break down quickly once applied, and will provide pre-emergence control. ThrottleTM and Landmark® are rated low in toxicity.
Weather permitting, the railroad tracks within the park will be treated on either March 25th or 26th using a 16-foot boom sprayer. The project will be paid for and implemented by Grand Canyon Railway. Pedestrian areas near the tracks will be appropriately signed to notify residents and visitors of the herbicide application.
In spring of 2009, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for implementation of the park's Exotic Plant Management Plan. A Finding of No Significant Impact was signed by the Regional Director in July of 2009. The EA identifies the need to use an integrated approach to exotic plant management, which includes the use of herbicides. It also stresses the necessity for collaboration such as this joint effort between the NPS and Grand Canyon Railway. For more information, please contact Lori Makarick, Vegetation Program Manager, at 928-638-7455 or Ken Stephenson with Grand Canyon Railroad at 928-635-5359.