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At refuge, team does battle with  black locust

An invasive strike team wrapped up four weeks' worth of work at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, according to Wildlife Biologist Scott Johnson.

The six-person crew from American Conservation Experience (ACE), a registered nonprofit organization that provides a range of voluntary service programs for both American and international participants, is based out of Flagstaff, Ariz. They were here for a four-week detail.

"This year we decided to incorporate an ACE crew into our invasive plant program to help work on infestations that we needed a little extra manpower for," Johnson explained. "Our core project was to remove infestations of black locust from the northwest corner of the refuge around Baker's Peak, with secondary projects including the treatment of Johnson grass in Scott Canyon by Lake Elmer Thomas and searching for common mullein along Deer Creek in the Special Use Area, when rain or high wind events prevented access to Baker's Peak.

"Unpredictable weather throughout the month of May was our biggest challenge, but the crew was very hard-working and diligent to make the most out of the time we had and accomplished an impressive amount of work."

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