Landowners can apply for weed control funds |

Landowners can apply for weed control funds

Landowners with pesky tamarisk or Russian olive or plumeless thistle – take heart. The Natural Resources Conservation Service has just received $120,500 from the Colorado Invasive Plant Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP) to control those weeds. NRCS will provide up to 50 percent of the cost to treat specific weeds on private property. The program applies to the area south of the Colorado River from Alkali Creek near New Castle to Battlement Creek near Parachute.Also covered by the grant program is spotted knapweed.”The woody species (Russian olive and tamarisk) are more expensive to control,” said county weed manager Steve Anthony, in announcing the grant to the Garfield County Commissioners Monday. “There are more steps involved” in removing trees rather than leafy weeds which can be sprayed. “With the woody, weedy species you have to cut them, spray them and oftentimes you’re having do something with the slash, so there are three steps involved instead of one step.”NRCS district conservationist Dennis Davidson said, “Coming up with the (50 percent match) will be the issue.” But his agency will accept in-kind contributions to the cost-share program, including donated labor and equipment that should make weed treatment affordable for most landowners.To be considered for funding, landowners must submit an EQUIP application to the local NRCS office before May 19.”EQUIP is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to improve the productivity of their rangeland and riparian lands for agriculture and wildlife by reducing the impact of noxious weeds, primarily on private land,” Davidson said in a prepared statement.Tamarisk, also called salt cedar, is an exotic shrub native to central Asia that was brought to America in the mid-1800s for use in windbreaks and shade. It now infests and chokes millions of acres of riverbank in western states, including Colorado.Russian olive is also an imported exotic tree used for windbreaks. It has invaded wetland and irrigation ditches throughout the state.For more information about the cost-share program, call the NRCS office in Glenwood Springs, 945-5494.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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