Tepee Draw is a tributary of the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument
In the late 1990s, Dinosaur National Monument resource managers began to find small patches of leafy spurge in the upper reaches of the Yampa River canyon. Tepee Draw was soon identified as one of the primary sources of infestation. The monument's newly established volunteer Weed Warrior program began doing annual hikes up Tepee Draw from the river, to hand-pull the leafy spurge in an attempt to reduce the seed load reaching the river.
The Weed Warrior treatments were limited to areas within the monument boundaries, but it was clear that there had to be additional seed sources farther up the drainage to the north. Those lands are managed primarily by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Little Snake Field Office (LSFO), but include significant areas under private ownership.
By 2009, investigations by the LSFO had confirmed the existence of a major leafy spurge population, located in a valley roughly 2.5 miles north of the monument boundary, on a combination of public and private lands.
Leafy spurge infesting a mix of BLM and private lands in upper Tepee Draw, photographed in 2011.
While there may have been some poorly documented attempts to control this infestation with herbicide in earlier decades, the contemporary control effort began with the BLM developing a treatment plan in 2010. Over the following decade a number of partners have also contributed to the effort, including the private landowner, Moffat County Weed and Pest, and contracted private herbicide applicators. In the late 2010s, the YRLSP contributed grant monies obtained from annual Colorado Department of Agriculture Weed Fund grants, in support of horseback herbicide applications contracted by the county.
On October 14, 2020, during a regular meeting of the YRLSP Working Group via Zoom, BLM Rangeland Management Specialist Chris Rhyne presented the group with a brief history and update on the Tepee Draw leafy spurge treatments. Her presentation was recorded, and the following video pairs her Powerpoint slides with an edited version of the original audio soundtrack. Also included are selections from the discussion that followed her presentation.
Heard during the discussion portion of the video are comments (in chronological order) from Tamara Naumann, retired Dinosaur National Monument Botanist (and founder of the monument's Weed Warrior Program), moderator Ben Beall of the YRLSP, and Emily Spencer, formerly with the BLM LSFO and now Resource Management Specialist with Dinosaur National Monument.