Summit County weed war showing results |

Summit County weed war showing results

Bob Berwyn
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” An aggressive fight against invasive weeds is paying off for local communities, as spraying, hand-pulling and other treatments have resulted in measurable reductions in weed populations.

Two years of weed treatments in Silverthorne has cut the number of acres affected by weeds by 57 percent, from 151 acres in 2006 to 65.7 acres in 2007, according to Summit County’s 2007 annual report.

“We’re not just continually spraying with no end in sight,” said county weed-program director Lisa Taylor.

Ongoing efforts to educate the public and eradicate non-native plants have also shown results in Frisco, where weed populations have been reduced by 77.3 percent since treatments began in 2005.

Under a contract with Dillon, county crews started treating weeds there last year, but the town is considering taking over the effort itself, according to the annual report.

Budget issues have hampered efforts to treat state highway right-of-ways consistently. In 2007, the Colorado Department of Transportation budgeted $30,000 for weed work, enabling treatment of 1,177 acres in Summit County.

Similarly, Forest Service budgets have fluctuated from year to year, Taylor said. The agency wasn’t able to commit to contract with the county until late July 2007, limiting treatment on national-forest land to just 11.5 acres.

The Summit school district is another target for the county’s weed program, as big chunks of land with large amounts of weeds made the “high priority” list, Taylor said.

Plans for the county and school district to cooperate on weed treatments in 2008 are also uncertain because of school-district personnel changes, Taylor said.

The county’s rec-path system is another bright spot in the weed war, with drops in weed populations along all the paths, according to the annual report. The same goes for county road right-of-ways, where the number of acres treated dropped about 36 percent, from 270 acres in 2006 to 173 acres in 2007.

Two new species, redroot pigweed and koshia, are appearing along county roads. Neither plant is on the state’s noxious weed list, but the county has added the powerful herbicide 2, 4-D to its spraying arsenal to combat the new invaders.

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