In the summer of 2016, a resident picked wildflowers from a ROW ditch and received serious skin burns which started an investigation as to the cause of these injuries. This began an all-out study and eradication plan on Wild Parsnip in our township. The original source of the infestation of this non-native plant is unknown but its growth is rapidly spreading both in ROW’s and private lands.
Wild Parsnip can cause skin blistering/burns that can last for an extended period of time. Unlike Poison Ivy, no one is exempt as the reaction is chemical in nature and not an allergic reaction.
Additional info can be found at: www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/documents/wild-parsnips.pdf
Authority & Obligation
Bridgewater Township is required by law under Mn Statute (section 18.83 subp 1) to control all Noxious Weeds which includes Wild Parsnips and Thistles.
Bridgewater Township has made an ongoing comprehensive survey map that specifically identifies where noxious weeds exist along township roads. This map will be updated annually. These observations will be shared with the MN State DNR in an effort to help facilitate further eradication efforts by surrounding government units.
Equipment and Personnel
In the Fall of 2017, we hired a commercial sprayer to cover all of Bridgewater Township’s road right of ways which resulted in a reduction of Wild Parsnip. In 2018, the Township purchased a Tractor/Mower and a JD ProGater golf course weed sprayer. This allowed the Township to better facilitate the timing of spraying and mowing the weeds at their most vulnerable stage on the 36 miles of Township roads. The equipment is operated by trained staff and volunteers in a safe and effective manner. Bridgewater Township benefited greatly from the expertise of Nancy Braker of Carleton College and the free intern student assistant for mapping input and progress reporting. The Minnesota Department of Ag has been supportive with grant monies for education and eradication advances. The process encouraged both State and County cooperation.
Our mission is to annually make an inventory of all Noxious Weeds followed with a correctly timed mowing and spraying program to continue the eradication of all unwanted weeds. We have learned that these noxious weeds are very hard to eradicate at an acceptable cost so the objective is to lower the population to a manageable level each year. The control of all noxious weeds will be directed with care so as not to harm other vegetation. Mowing of Wild Parsnip will be done in May-June only so as not to spread seeds from flowering heads. Chemical Spraying will follow May thru October as needed on known infestation/growth areas. All Wild Parsnip eradication including hand methods will follow Mn Dept of Ag guidelines on removal and disposal. In addition, all other noxious weeds including thistle will be targeted. Controlling weeds can improve roadside habitat and can also prevent infestations from spreading beyond the roadside where they could harm more habitat. Judicious weed control efforts will balance the short-term impacts to pollinator habitat with the long-term benefits of reduced invasive species infestations and improved wildflower populations.
Private and Public Lands
Township residents are offered a “DO NOT SPRAY’ sign ($5.00) to post in the road right of way if they do not want an area mowed/sprayed due to plantings or pollinator growth. Contact Frances Boehning, Bridgewater Township Clerk, to obtain a sign and agreement. The agreement states that the resident will eliminate any noxious weeds by hand to prevent future infestations in these areas and must be signed to purchase a sign. Many people volunteered time and effort to make a great start in diminishing the spread of Wild Parsnip and other Noxious weeds.
We encourage all governmental authorities and the private sector to work together to reduce the explosive advance of all unwanted plant species.
For additional information available: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadsides/vegetation/integrated.html