Pitkin County under mandate to eradicate pesky, noxious thistle | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County under mandate to eradicate pesky, noxious thistle

Naomi Havlen

Pitkin County is still under the gun to eradicate one stubborn, noxious weed in order to comply with a new state law, without any financial support from the state itself.It’s been frustrating trying to kill local populations of the reddish-purple plumeless thistle situation, admitted Pitkin County vegetation manager Jim Lewis. Lewis and the Pitkin County Weed Board met with county commissioners Tuesday to talk about the new state laws, weed control methods and enforcement concerns.In February, legislators put weeds into three lists of varying priority to get rid of in the state. The plumeless thistle, which thrives in Pitkin County, is one of the weeds that it is illegal to have putting out seeds in the state.The weed board is working on mapping all of the thistle infestations in the county, but it could use more money to get the job done sooner.County Commissioner Dorothea Farris said she finds it offensive that the state passed legislation saying local governments must get rid of the weed but did not allocate any money to help out. Commissioner Mick Ireland agreed.”I think the board wants a system where we identify chronic offenders, and then you need a plan for enforcement – ‘Do something or we’ll take action; we’ll fine you or do it ourselves and send you the bill,'” he said. “We’re not kicking people off their land, we’re kicking weeds off their land.”Through public education, the weed board has had success with other noxious weeds in areas of the county, like getting populations of leafy spurge out of the Twining Flats area. It also had an agreement in which Eagle Crest Nursery gave $25 certificates to people who brought in garbage bags full of meadow knapweed.Commissioner Patti Clapper suggested the board use the local government channel, Channel 11, and a website to educate the public about the state mandate and getting rid of thistle on private property.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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