Everybody has a duty to fight noxious weeds | SummitDaily.com

Everybody has a duty to fight noxious weeds

Summit County has long been under siege from biological terrorists – noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are those often very beautiful but insidious invasive plants that take over natural habitat, creating a downward biological spiral hurtful to plant and wildlife.

The most common noxious weed is the white daisy-looking plant adorning bike paths and other areas of disturbed earth – false chamomile. The plant loves dirt driveways and construction sites.

Ironically, Paul Schreiner, the county’s chief weed fighter, has put false chamomile at a low priority. Instead, he feels compelled to go after the bigger threats of leafy spurge, several varieties of thistles and spotted knapweed. If he can’t suppress outbreaks of these threats, the battle will really be lost.

In Montana, the biological wreckage caused by noxious weeds has cut the value of agricultural land. In Summit County, the greater danger is to wildlife habitat.

Summit County has long been in the forefront of fighting noxious weeds, thanks to the leadership of County Commissioner Tom Long. Now, the county is joining a regional effort to attack noxious weeds, joining with Clear Creek, Lake, Eagle and Grand counties. Noxious weeds know no boundaries, so it is important our neighbors are every bit as aggressive as we are. In numbers, there is power.

The greatest power against noxious weeds, however, is the collective action of property owners. Schreiner says it’s imperative neighbors be nosy about what’s growing next door. He’s right.

This won’t be the last time we address noxious weeds. The Summit Daily News will be part of a public education effort. But individuals should take the time to research noxious weeds and act as they can. Schreiner’s office has a wealth of information about weeds, as does the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office.

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