Heartland Outdoors: Through the Lens

Today’s Battle in the War on Woody Invaders

Friday, June 15

I had the unique experience of having a front row seat this morning at Peabody SFWA in southerwestern Illinois for an aerial attack on that dreadful Russian Olive and Bush Honeysuckle.

Let’s face it, we are at war with those invaders, especially in the strip hills where our DNR is working hard to re establish the grasslands and prairies.

Today’s battle was fought with the aerial application of a targeted herbicide.  Here’s where I probably should interject that many a dinner table conversation with husband at our house has taken a contentious turn given my overall distaste for herbicides and pesticides. Consequently, I was greatly relieved to see the care, planning, and safety that was involved in this mornings application.

It was a well-controlled, well planned attack – with careful input from the pilot, the site super, the wildlife biologist, all concerned parties.  Despite everyone’s distaste for the offensive plants, the overall goal of reestablishing some prime grassland habitat was paramount in everyone’s mind. Safety and proper use was reviewed, maps consulted, and off-limits areas designated prior to a single drop being loaded onto the helicopter for spraying. As much as we may hate those invaders this was not some crazy slash, burn, dump and run attack on every living thing in sight.

Here’s a look at today’s aerial battle against those woody invaders!

The helicopter staging area was placed at the far back side if the SFWA where interference with morning anglers, hikers, birdwatchers and general park traffic would be minimal.

Site Super Mic Middleton makes sure everyone is clear on all aspects of the project before start time.

The planning and safety meeting

All set up and ready to start transferring chemical

Time to get things loaded and underway!

And he’s off!

The attack on the woody invaders

This is just one of example of our “boots on the ground” men and women working everyday to provide us with the best possible land experience we can have. Hats off to those fellows out there in the unrelenting heat today doing battle against the woody invaders and helping to reestablish some soon to be prime grassland habitat!

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