Weeds.You may not think much about them, but maybe you should. “There are a few reasons to be concerned about weeds,” said Steve Anthony, Garfield County vegetation management director. “Weeds can have a tremendous impact on the environment, on our natural resources and on agriculture.”Anthony met with Garfield County commissioners this week to report on regional weed management efforts – and toweeds: see page A2 obtain an increase in funding for a weed cost share program available to eligible landowners, through the county and the Natural Resources Conservation District. Anthony said 78 landowners in the county have participated in the cost share program this year. After a landowner’s application is reviewed and approved, representatives from the county and the conservation district do site visits and make recommendations to the property owner. The program also reimburses private property owners 50 percent of their noxious weed control expenses.The annual budget for the program is $79,000, of which the county provides $25,000. Anthony requested and commissioners approved a total of $17,000 in additional funding – $10,000 of which was unspent in the vegetation management’s 2004 budget and an additional $7,000 as a supplemental request. Those funds will ensure that the weed cost share program continues – and that landowners will continue to be reimbursed for their weed control work.”This year the number of participants is about the same as last year,” Anthony said. “However, we have seen more large-acreage landowners participate.”But whether you own a small lot in a subdivision, or a big cattle ranch, Anthony said weeds should concern you.”Agriculturally, the presence of weeds can affect the carrying capacity of the land,” he said. “But even in Castle Valley, which is on an old ranch that’s been converted into a subdivision, there are problems with weeds. Any place where the earth has been disturbed is a target.”Anthony said weeds alongside roads, rivers and ditches can be extra-harmful, since they have the ability to spread by being transported to other locations. Weed management isn’t a new phenomenon. “I think the first weed laws in this country were in New England in the 1800s,” he said. “Even then, they were aware. Now the whole country is aware. There’s new federal legislation, the Noxious Weed Control Act of 2004, that’s just passed the House, and most Western states have weed management coordinators. People are becoming aware more and more of what’s happening.” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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