Spokane County's Noxious Weed Control Program is a countywide effort that was established in 1970 to carry out the mandates of the State Weed Law, R.C.W. 17.10. Under this law, landowners are required to control or eradicate noxious weeds on their land.
Why does Spokane County have a Noxious Weed Control Board and what does it do?
A state law passed in 1969 mandated that all counties in Washington have a program to combat noxious weeds.
The Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board was established in 1970 and consists of five citizen volunteers who represent five districts that cover the entire county. The Boards meets monthly and provides vision and direction to the weed control program.
Spokane County's Noxious Weed Control Program focuses on education, notification, technical assistance and control of noxious weeds through voluntary compliance and enforcement.
During the months of April through August, when the weeds are actively growing, the Weed Board employs a field staff with natural resource, horticulture and agriculture backgrounds to survey public and privately owned lands for noxious weeds and to work with landowners to achieve weed control.
Approximately 25% of the inspections come from citizens who report noxious weed locations to our office, the remainder are inspections made by the field staff as they travel the county.
How is Weed Control Enforced?
When an infestation is identified, the landowner is notified in writing and given a variety of options on how to control the weeds. Including hand pulling, mowing or cutting; advice on pasture management and on the most effective and least harmful methods of applying herbicides.
Landowners control the majority of weed infestations voluntarily. The Weed Board controls approximately 2% of the known infestations.
How is the Program Funded?
When WA State passed the law mandating the control of noxious weeds, it gave counties only two ways to fund the work. They could compete for general fund money, or they could put a special, dedicated fee on property. In 1984, after years of competing for decreasing funds through the County's general fund, the Weed Board received approval from the County Commissioners to put a small assessment on parcels in Spokane County. It is not a tax, it is a regulatory fee for a service that is available to all landowners and it cannot be imposed selectively.
Everyone benefits when noxious weeds are controlled. Prevention of new infestations is a top priority for the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board.
Noxious Weed List
The Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board adopts a Noxious Weed List each year. The list categorizes weeds into four classes, Class A, Class B Designates, Class B and Class C, according to the seriousness of the threat they pose to the County. In addition to these classes, Spokane County has established a Weeds of Concern list.
Services provided by the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board:
- Provide landowners with information and assistance to achieve high rates of weed control and voluntary compliance with the state law.
- Survey and map noxious weeds countywide to identify the extent of the problem and detect them at an earlier and more preventive stage.
- Provide educational services to the public through publications, exhibits at local fairs and presentations to schools and civic organizations.
- Conduct research on the best methods for weed control and eradication in Spokane County.
- Use of a 4 gallon backpack sprayer at no cost to the landowner (deposit required - fully refundable).