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As written in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, a noxious weed is "an alien plant or parts of an alien plant that have been designated by rule as being noxious or has been declared a noxious weed by a local advisory board, and meets one or more of the following criteria: (1) Aggressively invades or is detrimental to economic crops or native plant communities; (2) Is poisonous to livestock; (3) Is a carrier of detrimental insects, diseases, or parasites; (4) The direct or indirect effect of the presence of this plant is detrimental to the environmentally sound management of natural or agricultural ecosystems.” (Colorado Noxious Weed Act, 35-5.5)
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The San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners currently sits as the County's Weed Advisory Board and has requested that the County establish a Citizen's Weed Advisory Board.
The CWAB would be a group of volunteer citizens of the county who assist the County Weed Manager with reporting weed occurrences and developing a recommended integrative management plan for noxious weeds within the county. The board will help to review this plan at regular intervals, and may develop and adopt eradication or containment standards that are more stringent than state standards based on local noxious weed infestations.
The county noxious weed control program focuses on prevention, education, and technical assistance to the entire county for the control of noxious weeds. Early detection and landowner compliance greatly reduces costs associated with weed management, and elevates the efficacy of control in the county. Noxious weeds do not respect property boundaries and can spread from neighbor to neighbor.
Most noxious weeds grow rapidly March through October, and control is highly dependent on the growth stage of the weed. Each year the county surveys public lands within the county to evaluate the success of our work. We cannot get a complete picture of the severity of noxious weeds without citizens cooperating to report noxious weeds. We assist all landowners in the control of any noxious weed on their property. The use of herbicides is not a requirement, and the county weed department will work with each landowner to achieve eradication and/or control on a site by site basis.
In some cases the County Weed Manager may attempt to provide a courtesy call regarding a report or sighting of weeds from a public place on your property. The Colorado Noxious Weed Act requires county weed programs to notify the county resident of a sighting of noxious weeds on the property by certified mail. In this notification you will receive the name of the weed that was seen, a management objective, and a specified period in which the landowner is required to act upon the notice. Should the landowner not comply, the local governing body reserves the right to issue a warrant to enter the property and place a lien on the property for the cost of control.
According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, "Noxious weeds threaten valuable wildlife habitat and natural resources, cause economic hardships to agricultural producers, and are a nuisance for recreational activities." The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that invasive species are found on over 100 million acres of state, federal, and private land and that the U.S. spends over $138 billion per year in total economic damages and control costs.
In addition to economic costs, noxious weeds have a detrimental effect on threatened and endangered species. Some additional resources are below: