State, county take aim at noxious weeds |

State, county take aim at noxious weeds

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY ” Got a weed problem?

Pitkin County might be able to help, in the form of money from the state to help pay for weed control efforts.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has awarded Pitkin County Land Management a grant of $8,000 to use as cost-share funds to help landowners in pay for noxious weed control, according to Crystal Yates-White, the county’s land management control official.

The grant is part of the state and private forestry program aimed at protecting public lands from certain “high-priority, invasive, noxious weeds,” Yates-White wrote in a press release.

The primary target for these funds in Pitkin County, she said, will be control of plumeless thistle in state-mandated “eradication zones.”

Plumeless thistle, while quite abundant in Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle counties, is actually quite rare across the rest of Colorado, Yates-White reported. In 2005, the state directed Pitkin County to develop a strategy to eradicate the plant before it spreads to other areas of Colorado.

Eradication is to occur in three stages, moving from lightest to the most heavily-infested zones, according to Yates-White. Completion of eradication in the first zone (located between the Crystal River and Capitol Creek) is to occur by the end of this year. Plumeless thistle eradication in the second zone (between the Crystal River and the western county line) is to occur by 2012.

In addition to the grants program, Pitkin County has teamed up with local nurseries to provide free coupons to county residents, in exchange for their ornamental noxious weeds.

The county is offering $20 coupons to Pitkin County residents in exchange for the following noxious ornamentals: myrtle spurge; oxeye daisy; Dame’s rocket; scentless chamomiles; absinth wormwood; and meadow knapweed.

Coupons are limited to two per individual, and may be redeemed through Oct. 31 for merchandise at Crystal Gardens, Eagle Crest Nursery or Planted Earth.

To participate, bring full 13-gallon (kitchen-sized) bag(s) of weeds to the Pitkin County landfill or to the Pitkin County public works building, 76 Service Center Road, between the Aspen Animal Shelter and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus barn.

For more information, contact Crystal Yates-White, Pitkin County land manager, at 920-5214.

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