All posts by TCWP

Meet our Team: Stella Krone

Meet Stella—after only one year as a seasonal worker she returned to us as a crew lead for our 2022 season. You might even see her in the field as she maps and sprays invasive weeds along our highways. Whether she’s spraying on the roadside near Hoback or Togwotee you won’t miss her in her favorite (and stylin’) neon orange and yellow outfits. 

Stella grew up in Arkansas, studied Environmental Studies in college, and wanted to work outside.

The views are obviously an amazing plus, but really I love hiking around and seeing different parts of the county. It’s also great to work with people who have similar interests as me.

Her favorite memories while working at TCWP are the views, abundant wildlife encounters, and a paddleboard battle with co-workers at Crew Appreciation Day in the Palisades. 

Name: Stella Krone

Where did you grow up and what brought you to TCWP?

I grew up in Arkansas. I came to TCWP because I studied Environmental Studies in college, I really wanted to work outside, and I absolutely adore the mountains.

What’s your current role at TCWP and how long have you worked here?

I am a weed crew lead doing mostly highway work and this is my second summer.

Best parts of the job?

The views are obviously an amazing plus, but really I love hiking around and seeing different parts of the county. It’s also great to work with people who have similar interests as me.

The biggest challenges of the job?

It can be hard on your body, especially as we get farther into the season and it gets hotter. Rest is super important: mental and physical.

What have you learned between your first season at TCWP and now?

I learned a lot about the environment. Being around people who care about the earth is awesome and we always get to share what we know with each other. 

Best memory while working at TCWP? 

Going to the Palisades for crew day and having a battle on the paddle boards. 

Least favorite weed?

Spotted Knapweed

Coolest wildlife experience in the field?

One time on the elk refuge in the early morning I got to see 6 bull moose all together in one pasture. It was incredible. I also love seeing coyotes and badgers hunt together. 

Do you want to stay in Jackson long-term or do you have your sights set on something else?

At this point I’m not really sure—I like seasonal work and the opportunity to move around. I want to stay in the west though, I think. 

What is your favorite part of living in Jackson?

All of the incredible and easy access to nature. There is always something to do outdoors and it totally boosts my mood. 

Hobbies?

I love riding bikes, hiking, and chillin’ by the river. Really anything that gets me outside whether that be sports or just relaxing. 

Meet our Team: Matt Prosen

Matt is one of our EDRR (Early Detection Rapid Response) crew leads. His many seasons with us lends knowledge, experience, and expertise to our weed program. 

Although Matt grew up in the Chicago suburbs, he feels more at home in nature. If the housing market permits, he plans to live in Jackson for a while. You’ll catch him fishing, hiking, camping, paddle boarding, and making music throughout the year. 

One of his favorite memories was working up Corbets Couloir on a Saturday. Matt had the privilege of driving a truck up Teton Village and meeting Jimmy Chin. Another favorite memory that sticks out was being within fifteen feet of a wolf—being so close to wildlife it feels like you work in a safari. 

Name: Matt Prosen

Where did you grow up and what brought you to TCWP?

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved out here to get away from the city and into nature.

What’s your current role at TCWP and how long have you worked here?

My current role at TCWP is Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) technician.

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is defined as a coordinated set of actions to find and eradicate potential invasive species in a specific location before they spread and cause harm.

Best parts of the job?

Being out in nature and seeing the wonderful landscape and wildlife.

The biggest challenges of the job?

Some days can be long and sweaty with a lot of miles.

What have you learned between your first season at TCWP and now?

I’ve learned a ton about the different types of plants and how our eradication plays a role in keeping the environment in tip top shape.

Best memory while working at TCWP?

Working up Corbets Couloir for Saturday work. I had the privilege of driving a truck up Teton Village and meeting Jimmy Chin

If you could rid Teton County of one weed what would it be and why?

I’d get rid of Spotted Knapweed because it is everywhere and detrimental to the river system.

Coolest wildlife experience in the field?

Being within fifteen feet of a wolf—being so close to wildlife it feels like you work in a safari. 

Do you want to stay in Jackson long-term or do you have your sights set on something else?

I have my sights set on staying here long term if the housing market permits.

What is your favorite part of living in Jackson?

I love being immersed in nature and not having to deal with living in a city.

Hobbies?

Fishing, hiking, camping, paddle boarding and making music.

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 19-25, 2022)

Join us for the National Mosquito Control Awareness Week that extends from June 19-25. Without your support and involvement with TCWP, our mosquito efforts would be in vain. Outreach and community involvement from concerned citizens of Teton County are necessary for an effective Integrated Pest Management system.

If you see our full-time or seasonal staff out working in the field give them a friendly wave or say hello! They work long hours in hot, not to mention, “buggy” conditions. Without their hard work our county would be swarmed with mosquitoes. Say farewell to evenings on your back porch! Thankfully, our mosquito team uses a variety of methods this time of year to reduce mosquitoes before they get out of control. 

Mosquito Habitat

Mosquitoes need stagnant water to survive and grow. We work with landowners and renters such as yourselves to reduce mosquito habitat. When ranchers reduce the amount or length of time that stagnant water sits on their irrigated fields, the overall mosquito populations will decrease as well. 

Those who aren’t ranchers also have unique opportunities to help. Check your yard to see if there are any containers that hold water. Remember, mosquitoes need standing water to survive—but they don’t need much of it. An inch or two of standing water in a small plastic container is plenty of habitat for hundreds of mosquitoes to grow. Empty out your bird baths, empty boats, rubber tires, plastic bottles, and any other container that could hold water. We’re all in this together—so do your part!

Mosquito Larval Control

When habitat reduction is difficult or impossible, we survey areas like flood irrigated fields, snowmelt puddles, or naturally flooded areas off of the Snake River for signs of mosquito larvae in stagnant water. Then, we treat the water with BTI. BTI is a fantastic pesticide because it is often considered organic (it’s a bacteria) and it only kills mosquito larvae when applied at the proper rate. Therefore, we can kill mosquitoes without hurting anything else in the environment—it’s a win-win! Plus, larvae are easy to kill because they are concentrated, can’t leave the water, and are generally accessible. Plus, they are killed before they turn into adult mosquitoes. Therefore, we kill them before and not after they bite you. Hence, larval control is a fantastic part of IPM. 

If you have standing water near your home or place of work, give us a call. With the proper permission, we can come survey the area for mosquito larvae and work with you to come up with a solution to any mosquito-related problem.

Mosquito Adult Control

Although often effective, this action is our last resort. Most of the time habitat reduction and larval control work well enough to avoid adult control. However, certain circumstances may require adult control. Some years we see significant flooding from snow melt which may increase mosquito populations county-wide. Under circumstances like this, our habitat reduction and larval control fall short. We trap mosquitoes in these areas to detect how many are captured in a 24-hour time period. If our trap numbers reach a specific threshold, we may apply Ultra Low Volume spray (ULV), often called “fogging” or “spraying.” Although ULV spray is effective, it can kill other flying insects of similar size to mosquitoes. Therefore, we attempt to exhaust all other mosquito control efforts before we choose to adulticide.
Have you ever heard the quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? That saying rings true when it comes to mosquito abatement in Teton County. If we can prevent mosquitoes from becoming adults, we have won most of the battle. Contact us for any questions regarding water on your property, which pesticides we use, and how we can help you reduce mosquitoes where you live. Tell your friends and neighbors about National Mosquito Control Awareness Week to spread the word!

Sign up for Mosquito Text Alerts!

TEXT MOSQUITO22 TO 313131

Please share this sign-up info with friends & neighbors

American History: A Story of Mosquito-Borne Disease

When you think of a deadly animal what comes to mind? Sharks? Rattlesnakes? Crocodiles? These animals may result in some human deaths but they are far from the deadliest creatures out there. So what’s the “big” killer?— you guessed it, mosquitoes. 

Mosquito-borne diseases kill between half a million and 2.7 million people each year. You’ve probably heard of some of these before: Zika virus, West Nile Virus, dengue, and malaria. To top that off, millions more suffer from these diseases every year but don’t die. 

When most Americans think about mosquito-borne diseases they think of public health issues in southeast Asia or central Africa. Yet, many Americans don’t know that diseases like yellow fever and malaria used to plague our country. 

Historical documents, letters, news articles and books confirm that U.S. citizens were dying left and right from mosquitoes.

1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Outbreak 

Shortly after the U.S became its own independent country, the unusually hot and humid summer of 1793, coupled with poor sewage and waterway infrastructure, created the breeding grounds for deadly mosquitoes. 

At the time, doctors and scientists didn’t know what caused the yellow fever outbreak. As thousands of people lay sick or dying, a panic broke out and Philadelphians fled from the city. Alexander Hamilton came down with the fever but survived. Meanwhile, George Washington quickly retreated to Mount Vernon. Others, especially the poor, weren’t so lucky. 

The Civil War

Mosquito-borne diseases seem to pop up at the most inopportune times—like the bloodiest war in American history. As the Union fought the Confederacy, yellow fever but especially malaria, tormented soldiers. 

Nicknamed “gallinippers” by some soldiers, mosquitoes tormented its victims day and night for months on end. Soldiers were not only sick and dying from malaria, but also unwell because they couldn’t fall asleep at night due to constant swarms of mosquitoes. 

The Union Army recorded over 1.3 million cases and 10,000 deaths from malaria. However, the Confederacy likely saw more deaths because the Union blockaded commerce to the south which included shipments of the anti-malaria drug, quinine.

The road to eradication

Army Surgeon Major Walter Reed, a veteran of the Spanish-American war, had seen the destruction of yellow fever. Records of the war indicate that more soldiers died of diseases (especially yellow fever and malaria) than combat. 

Reed and three other specialists formed a commission to study yellow fever, determine how it was transmitted, and to eradicate it. 

With the help of volunteers, including Reed’s staff, the commission discovered that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito spread yellow fever. This was a medical breakthrough at the time. The Army used their data and analysis to curb yellow fever in North America as well as Latin America. 

Around the same time, Major Ronald Ross proved that Malaria was caused by mosquitoes. This breakthrough led to mosquito control in Panama which allowed workers to complete the Panama Canal. 

An integrated mosquito program was strictly enforced to curb malaria:

  • Workers were given quinine 
  • Stagnant water near villages and homes was drained
  • Tall grasses and brush (hiding places for mosquitoes) was cut near villages
  • Screens were added to buildings
  • Oil was put on top of water to kill larvae (not a practice that we would recommend now)

We have come a long way

He said that two of them could whip a dog, and that four of them could hold a man down; except help come, they would kill him-”butcher him,” as he expressed it. – Mark Twain, LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI

When we look back on American history we can see that mosquitoes played a large role in the daily lives of people. 

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. Although mosquito-borne diseases still kill people in the United States, our rate of disease is quite low today because of advanced medical treatments and integrated pest management.

Although Teton County has the vector for West Nile Virus, we have worked diligently to keep it at bay. Our mosquito abatement program is here for you this summer.

If you have any concerns about mosquitoes near you, use our alert system: text MOSQUITO22 to 313131.

Recreate Responsibly this Summer

Summer is right around the corner and so are some of our favorite outdoor activities. Whether you’re a long-time local, snowbird, newcomer, or tourist, Jackson offers some of the best mountain adventures. 

With these activities (like hiking or biking) comes the responsibility to sustain them for years to come. We want our children and our children’s children to hike the same trails and see the same sights that we will this summer. Unfortunately, some of our invasive plants that threaten our ecosystem have spread through recreation. 

So, we need your help to stop invasive species. The good news is, we don’t need to end our summer pastimes—we just need to recreate responsibly this summer. 

Recreate Responsibly this Summer – Favorite Summer Activities

“Happy Trails”
Photo by Wren Bird on Unsplash

Hiking: Wipe or brush off your hiking boots or trail running shoes after a day in the mountains. Some invasive plants have tiny seeds that are difficult to spot. It’s best to wipe them off every time you use them.

Biking: Brush or wash off any equipment that you use. While mountain bikes may seem more likely to spread invasive plants, road bikes can also pick up mud that contains small seeds.

Paddleboarding in the Tetons
Photo by Bobby Stevenson on Unsplash

Paddleboarding: After a warm sunny day on the lake make sure to wash and brush off your paddleboard. Aquatic invasive species can be tiny but deadly to our native fish. Plus, many species like the zebra mussel can live outside of water for weeks. It’s better to be safe than sorry—use a hose, scrub brush, or towel to wash off any debris you may find. 

Recreating with dogs: We love our furry friends. They keep us company and safe when we’re alone on a trail. At the same time, our loyal (and cute) friends can spread invasive seeds all over the place. To make sure this doesn’t happen on your watch, inspect your dog’s fur and paws after each walk.

Boating and fishing: Clean all of your gear before you enter and as you’re leaving each body of water. Gear includes your vessel, bait containers, waders, fishing lines, and any type of footwear. When you dispose of debris or unwanted materials make sure that you throw them in the trash. If you dump them on land then you may accidentally spread land or aquatic invasives. Nobody wants that!

When we all do our part in Jackson, we can conserve a beautiful ecosystem that sustains diverse life and our favorite summer activities—it’s a win-win for everyone!

TCWP District Board puts the community first: The mill levy reduced and the cost-share program launched

The past few years in Jackson have been a rollercoaster of events. New home buyers are discouraged by the inflated market, renters who used to pay $1200 a month are now forced to pay $2200 for a tiny apartment, and long-time locals are faced with rising property taxes. But don’t lose hope. There are plenty of people who still want to see our community thrive and are willing to take action to make it happen. 

The Teton County Weed and Pest District Board sees the challenges that our county faces and is willing to do something about it. At their regular monthly meeting the board unanimously supported a reduction of the District’s Fiscal Year 23 mill levy to 0.750 of a mill instead of the regular one mill. According to recent estimates, this move will save taxpayers approximately $810,000

Besides the mill levy reduction, the Board is excited to announce their newest operation—the Landowner Cost Share Program. 

If you’re a landowner in Teton County then you are eligible to receive $1,000 per parcel to fight invasive species on your property. The program provides a 50% cost share on herbicides as well as a variety of free resources, plans, consultations, and certifications. This program operates on a first come first serve basis—so sign up today!  

  • Have invasive thistles on your property? We’ll help you pay for the herbicide to get rid of them. 
  • Want personalized expertise to help you create a management plan? We’ll send someone over to work with you one-on-one (for free!).
  • Need a weed free certification for the hay on your ranch? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to check out your land and offer any advice we can give (and it’s always complimentary)

We’ve been working on this new program for several years and are excited to provide this reimbursement program for those working diligently on their invasive weeds – Becker

Dedicated Mosquito Abatement

Plus, TCWP is here for the safety of our public which is why we have a dedicated mosquito abatement and public health team. Throughout the year we conduct our mosquito program to monitor our area for West Nile Virus and other mosquito borne viruses. 

If you are concerned about mosquitoes on your property we can provide prompt on-site consultations to test your area for West Nile Virus, treat mosquito larvae, and help you manage nearby mosquito habitat such as flood irrigated fields, ponds, and other areas with stagnant water. 

For more information check out our mosquito program or text MOSQUITO22 to 313131 for our mosquito text alerts this summer. 

Mosquito

Get to know your Mosquitoes: Fun (and not so fun) facts

Once July comes around you’ll start to see more and more of those pesky mosquitoes. When you’re in the backcountry camping you’ll hear the incessant buzz of their wings against the side of your tent. If you hike Snow King in the evening you’ll start to see some swarms following you once the sun goes behind the mountain. Or, you won’t even notice any mosquitoes around you but you’ll find multiple bug bites on your legs after you eat a late dinner on your back porch. 

Whatever the case may be, you are bound to have more than a few interactions with mosquitoes this summer. So, you might as well learn a few facts about your pesky neighbors. 

For now, scientists have identified over 3,600 species of mosquitoes globally. Yet in Teton County we only see about 39 species. Of those 39, some are more common and others are quite difficult to find. 

Out of the 3,600 known species, less than 200 (or less than 10%) transmit pathogens. 

Mosquito Facts

Did you know?

  • Not all mosquito species bite humans. Some feed on plants, frogs, earthworms, and leeches.
  • If you’re faced with a species that does feed on humans, remember that only the female mosquitoes bite you. The males feed on nectar and other plant products.
  • Mosquitoes use sight, heat, and chemical signals to find you. You’re more likely to be bitten if you’re moving around and if you produce a lot of carbon dioxide. While we all breathe out CO2, some people have higher concentrations than others which make them a larger target. Bummer, huh?
  • Mosquitoes are tenacious little creatures. Although we don’t have this species here in Teton County, salt marsh mosquitoes are known to migrate over 40 miles.
  • Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes. One theory about this phenomenon is that darker clothing mimics large game animals which are also a main food source for mosquitoes. According to this theory, that pesky mosquito may mistake you for an elk or even a moose.

Even though mosquitoes can cause disease and harm to humans and animals alike, they are still fascinating creatures. Have any questions about these little buggers? Stop by our office at 7575 South Highway 89 or give us a call at (307) 733-8419.

Stay informed on Mosquitoes in Teton County by signing up for the Mosquito Text Alert System

Name our Drones Contest

Jackson Kids: Enter our drone contest to win big prizes

Here at TCWP we want our local community to share in our environmental stewardship responsibilities. Through May 15th, kids thirteen and under who are residents of Teton County or attend school here, are eligible to enter our drone-naming contest and giveaway. We have a small drone and a large drone that both need names. The winner who comes up with the most creative, fun, or silly name will win a $50 REI gift card as well as a giftcard to Moo’s Ice Cream—just in time for summer!

Throughout the summer our drones are used for surveillance and treatment on both public and private land. 

Drone use for our mosquito programs

Mosquito

Mosquitoes are not only pesky and annoying, but dangerous. They can spread harmful disease-causing pathogens to humans such as West Nile virus. 

To combat this possibility, we use our drones to survey large areas of flood-irrigated land on our local ranches. When water stands too long, mosquito eggs hatch and breed into adult mosquitoes that bite you and me.

Our small drone has video capabilities which allows us to survey areas to determine if there’s standing water. If there is standing water, we can assess the situation and potentially use our larger drone to treat the area and kill mosquito larvae with our insecticide. 

We also fight our invasive plants with drones

TCWP’s invasive plant program also uses our drones. Fighting our stubborn invasive plants may be a bit easier if they are contained in a small area on flat ground. However, quite the opposite is true. 

Many of our noxious plants here are located on steep and treacherous terrain. Our first priority is to keep our hard-working staff safe. Our drones allow us to reach spotted knapweed on cliffs and hills without sacrificing the safety of our summer crews. 

Knapweed can infest areas quickly and reduce native plants that our elk and moose need to survive. Our drones help us sustain our native ecosystem that our wildlife depend on.  

In the fall, we use our drones to spray cheatgrass which also grows in steep terrain. Cheatgrass is a non-native, highly flammable grass that has the potential to extend our fire season if it gains traction. 

As you can see, drones are a game-changer. They make our job easier and more efficient, which is why we need help naming them!