The number of documented exotic plants in Yellowstone National Park has increased from 85 known in 1986 to over 185 today. Exotic plants are substantially impacting the parks natural and cultural resources and are a high management priority. We have adopted an integrated weed management approach with regard to exotic vegetation, emphasizing prevention, education, early detection and eradication, control, and, to a lesser degree, monitoring. The program involves over 140 staff with program expenditures averaging approximately $190,000 annually. Prevention actions include requiring approved gravel on construction projects; banning hay in the backcountry and allowing transport of only certified weed-seed-free hay through Yellowstone; requiring construction equipment to be pressurecleaned prior to entering the park; and native species revegetation after road, housing, and other construction projects have disturbed ground.

Over 4500 acres, primarily along roadsides and in developed areas, are surveyed annually in early detection efforts with emphasis placed on eradicating small, new infestations of highly invasive species such as sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta L.) and leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.). Control efforts focus on about 30 priority species, such as spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.), oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L.), and hoary cress (Cardaria draba [L.] Desv.) using chemical, mechanical, and cultural techniques. A total of 2027 acres were treated during 1998, whereas control efforts for 12 species occurred on 2596 acres during the previous 3-year period, 1995–1997. Strong and expanding partnerships with other federal, state, and local agencies and private companies contribute to management efforts within the park. Future program goals emphasize increases in base funding to ensure continued weed management efforts as well as expanding survey, monitoring, and reclamation efforts. Ultimately, a more rigorous assessment of program effectiveness is desired.