The Russians had to go.
At least that was the expert opinion of the Dillon Field Office staff as it considered the Russian olive trees which had sprung up along the lower Madison River. The Russian olive, known as Elaeagnus angustifolia, is an invasive species introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s from its native central and western Asia. When found, it must be dealt with quickly and decisively.
So, on Aug. 20, Ed Coon and other members of his Dillon Field Office team went out to Trapper Springs Campground, chainsaws in hand, to take care of the invading Russians.
“The Russian olives had been planted in the campground more than 30 years ago to shade campsites, but as of late they have been a problem because of their rapid spread and takeover of native species,” Coon said.
A total of 16 trees were removed, he added, and the stumps were painted with herbicide. They were then loaded onto a trailer and taken to a local county dump for proper disposal.
To the best of his knowledge, Coon said, these were the only Russian olives in the Dillon Field Office’s area of responsibility….but they may not be the last.
“There will most likely be new growth in the spring to re-treat,” he said.
If so, Coon and crew are ready for the coming invasion.