Grant could support weed fight |

Grant could support weed fight

SUMMIT COUNTY – Tom Long cringes every time he has to kill a Canada thistle on his family ranch north of Silverthorne.The noxious weed is a continual thorn in his side, preventing his cattle from grazing in the meadows and being notoriously difficult to eradicate.But a new weapon in the arsenal against noxious weeds has come available to municipalities fighting them. A law enacted last October will establish a $7.5 million annual grant cities and counties can use to implement education, management and other programs to control noxious weeds.”It’s something – it’s better than nothing,” said Long, a Summit County commissioner who has spearheaded education efforts locally and statewide about the weeds. “Their acting on it shows their awareness is coming up.”The federal Plant Protection Act will be overseen by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, although the service has yet to figure out how it will be administered.

Noxious weeds have infested more than 100 million acres in the United States, said Rob Hedberg, director of science policy for the Weed Science Society of America.”Noxious weeds are a growing threat to our nation’s native ecosystems,” he said. “This Noxious Weed Control Act will provide funding to control invasive vegetation, which is what we really need in this country. Early detection and rapid response are the first lines of defense against noxious weeds.”Noxious weed control is particularly important in the West, where dozens of species threaten to edge out native plant populations.Once they take root, they are difficult to eliminate. In worst-case scenarios – seen in numerous locations throughout the West – they have created a monoculture of weeds, which results in a loss of insect, then rodent, then predator life.

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