Right of Way Treatment

Over the past 15 years, we have been implementing vegetation management of noxious weeds, woody plants and coniferous trees in right of ways

What is right of Way Treatment?

Treatment within right of ways using herbicide is necessary to prohibit unwanted vegetation that may impact road systems, create weed vectors, interfere with travel or breach utilities.

Types of Right of Ways are:

Road – Interstate, primary, secondary, Forest Service roads, new and old logging roads and temporary roads

River, Stream – Water right of ways

Utility – Transmission lines and distribution lines.   

When building new roads or maintaining existing roads, vehicle travel is the number one cause for the spread of noxious weeds.  Especially in regard to new roads, soil disturbance and the spread of weed seeds create the perfect combination for a widespread propagation of unwanted noxious weeds.  Most noxious weed infestations begin on a right of way and spread considerably over time.  Finding and treating these infestations before they escape the road cut will benefit the land and reduce the long-term cost.    

Logging companies, state and federal entities contract WMA to perform pre-haul and post-haul noxious weed treatments as to limit the spread of noxious weeds within their logging operation zone.

Forest Service, BLM, DNRC, and county governments will set up project areas on heavily used right of ways or areas where a disturbance, such as fire, has moved in and created the need for vegetation management. A typical application performed by WMA is solely reliant on the customer’s overall long-term goal.

Our truck mounted right of way systems are state of the art and equipped with two Dosatron* units.    

*Dosatron is an injection system that contains the herbicide concentrate and precisely injects the product into the solution at an amount determined by herbicide rate and speed of vehicle.  The Dosatrons are calibrated by GPS and an onboard computer that collects extremely accurate information of volume sprayed and acres treated.  This technology allows us to never go over or under the recommended rates or prescription.  A best practice for the land and your cost.

We specialize in utility right of ways

Our goal as a company is to provide our customers with exceptional service that includes comprehensive experience, reliable counsel, and joint project planning.  As an industry leader, we approach long-term vegetation management with a balance of efficiency and effectiveness.  Rather than continuous disruption of vegetation and soil disturbance using other practices, which are ongoing and costly, we believe in promoting healthy understory vegetation using herbicide.  Done correctly, herbicide will control invasive and unwanted vegetation growth known to interfere or obstruct service from transmission and distribution lines.

Woody and Coniferous Vegetation Control:

Since the first utility line was stretched to run power across the land, managers have had to manipulate vegetation as to not interfere with the line and obstruct service.  Today, we have multiple management options to effectively and efficiently clear tall growing trees, hazard trees and obstructions.

Generally, utility right of ways are maintained using sawyers and masticators to reduce trees, deadfall and fuels from the service line’s operation zone.  This will probably never change, as trees will always be a threat to the service.  However, what if we, an herbicide ground crew, can decrease the number of trees and the amount of effort to maintain hazard trees and provide our customers with a reduced maintenance cost and reduced outages due to vegetation?  We absolutely can.  WMA Specialists has proved that by spraying unwanted trees and shrubs and reestablishing healthy understory vegetation, we can diminish maintenance costs and have fewer outages.    

Utilizing a low impact ground crew with very little disturbance within the right of way, we can selectively target unwanted species and only use herbicide where it is needed, a best practice for cost and environmental stewardship.  We target noxious weeds, tall growing woody plants and conifers with a variety of selective herbicide prescriptions.  This approach allows a diverse, native, low lying vegetation to establish and thrive.   Undisturbed, these fibrous and rhizomatous species will prevent the germination and propagation of unwanted trees and plants.

Management Protocols and Preliminary Vegetation Modification:

Line vegetation densities vary from site to site.  In order for an herbicide ground crew to truly be effective, some preliminary work using sawyers, masticators and helicopters will need to be implemented.  This is the first step in administering an Integrated Vegetation Management Plan (IVM).

Order of Operation:

  • Monitor and survey each line
  • Designate priority areas
  • Choose management technique
  • Design a long-term management schedule
  • Implement the work
  • Monitor and survey results
  • Archive the data

Why herbicide ground crews are the overall best practice for long-term vegetation management:

Using herbicide, you can successfully control undesirable vegetation and reconstitute low-lying understory canopy, which will prohibit seedlings from growing and establishing.  Once control is achieved, less maintenance will be required.  For instance, if a saw crew was to cut down an alder or aspen stand, both resilient species, each will regrow with more vigor.  However, if herbicide is used on these two same species, the result will be much different.  Herbicide the first year will control or delay the growth and, usually within 2 years, decimate the tree.  Using the latter form of management we can reduce long-term maintenance and cost.

Herbicide Treatment Using Helicopters:

Helicopters are great tools for large-scale herbicide treatment areas, but why does this method not work for controlling shrubs and trees on a long-term treatment schedule within a right of way?  The answer is simple:  In order to achieve control of a conifer, high rates of selective herbicide are needed.  Unfortunately, even though these selective herbicides are formulated to be target specific, leaving desirable grasses and forbs, the high rates needed to kill trees also damage healthy, desirable vegetation.  In turn, by damaging healthy, understory vegetation, a conifer release is often the result.  This is counter-productive to the overall long-term agenda.  Helicopter applications can best be utilized during the first year of an IVM.  Reducing the vegetation density and encouraging a conifer release will reduce the viable seeds by allowing them to germinate, however, an herbicide ground crew must be available in subsequent years.    

Before treatment

After treatment