Sharlene E. Sing, Research Entomologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Bozeman Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Montana State University Campus – FSL, Bozeman, MT
Kevin J. Delaney, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Pest Management Research Unit, Northern Plains Agricultural Laboratory, 1500 N. Central Avenue, Sidney, MT 59270, Environmental Services Department, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA


Abstract: The primary goals of a two-day Russian olive symposium held in February 2014 were to disseminate current knowledge and identify data gaps regarding Russian olive biology and ecology, distributions, integrated management, and to ascertain the feasibility and acceptance of a proposed program for classical biological control of Russian olive. The symposium was hosted by the Northern Rockies Invasive Plant Council in conjunction with NRIPC’s 3rd Invasive Species in Natural Areas Conference, held February 10-15, 2014, in Spokane, WA. Funding to support the Russian olive symposium was received through a USDA NIFA AFRI Foundational Program grant awarded in response to the ‘Controlling Weedy and Invasive Plants’ (A1131) program priority area. Talks delivered by invited research subject experts were interspersed with facilitated large group and smaller breakout group discussions. Key invited management and stakeholder representatives also discussed first-hand experiences with Russian olive as a conflict (invasive and beneficial) species in the western U.S., and provided details about the implementation and efficacy of current Russian olive IPM options. The symposium was ultimately initiated to help establish an atmosphere of dialogue and trust among researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and resource managers. This highly focused forum allowed participants to gain a common and updated understanding of many important aspects of the biology, ecology and management of Russian olive. This in turn contributed to productive dialogue, identifying, and hopefully mitigating conflicts of interests about the potential biological control of Russian olive.