Road Warrior

Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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What’s our $2 noxious weed fee being spent on?

July 7th, 2013 by travis baker

The in basket: Michael Ball writes to ask, “What is the Kitsap County Noxious Weed Program doing with our tax dollars?

“With the amount of noxious weeds (scotch broom, gorse) present on our roadways,” he said, “I was wondering what Kitsap county is doing to prevent and eradicate the spread of noxious weeds? It doesn’t appear that anything is happening, each year the scotch broom seems to double and quadruple in size. On state highways it doesn’t appear that the state is doing anything in Kitsap County either.”

The out basket: It happened that I was working up a Road Warrior column about this year’s noxious weed spraying program when Michael’s e-mail came in.

He emphasizes scotch broom, but noxious as it is, it isn’t a target of the county program. Neither are Himalayan blackberries, which also strike me as noxious, except when their tasty berries are abundant.

But the focus of the program is attacking non-native weeds that force out native plants before they get too numerous to eradicate.

Dana Coggon, head of the program, explains.

“Scotch broom is not a designated noxious weed for control here in Kitsap County,” she said. “The State Weed Laws RCW 17.10 and WAC 16-750 state that “the goal of the Weed Board is to slow the spread of designated noxious weeds. Unfortunately for many Western Washington counties, Scotch broom is so widespread that it is not seen as good use of resources to mandate its control.

“Our goal is to stop the spread of many weeds before they become as widespread as Scotch broom. Your fees go towards trainings that are held throughout the county to inform citizens about the impacts of invasive weeds in hopes of empowering individuals to make a difference one site at a time.

 “We do, however, advocate for citizens to work on their Scotch broom and we have worked with home owners associations to put together community Scotch broom pulls in many neighborhoods. If you would like some information on how to set up a community pull, please contact me. (DCoggon@co.kitsap.wa.us).

“Many of us are allergic to Scotch broom,” she said. “I also find it difficult and frustrating that there is not more action on the control of this menace not only in our back yards but also along the roadways. I have been working with the county road crews and the State Department of Transportation to address some of the larger problem areas

“Unfortunately the county weed control program has only been in existence since 2005 and the Scotch broom has had about a 20-30 year jump on me.

“The best motto that I have with the Scotch broom is ‘One a day keeps millions away.’ If we all (pulled out) just one a day not only on our properties but also in public areas we could make a difference.

“I would like to have funds to address all of the noxious weed issues in the county, but unfortunately we are relegated to addressing the few challenges that our board feels are the highest priorities.

“I invite you to attend one of our County Noxious Weed Control Board meetings to voice your concerns about what the noxious weed priorities should be. I also challenge you to become more involved and active in our program to help stop the spread of invasive weeds.”

So what are the priorities that trump Scotch broom? That’s the subject of the next Road Warrior.

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3 Responses to “What’s our $2 noxious weed fee being spent on?”

  1. Grog Says:

    So I checked out the facebook page in the other post, but I’m curious about this statement:
    “The best motto that I have with the Scotch broom is ‘One a day keeps millions away.’ If we all (pulled out) just one a day not only on our properties but also in public areas we could make a difference.”

    I understand not focusing on the scotch broom, but it seems that motto is being ignored. Why remove other weeds from around scotch broom and ignore a few small plants/clusters?

  2. Randy Wagner Says:

    Seems to me that if the companies doing the land clearing would would be made responsible to clean out the scotch broom that covers the area they cleared, this would make for a LARGE DENT in the broom population. Instead it is allowed to grow there, unchecked. Spreading it seeds everywhere.

  3. RMParker Says:

    I have very little confidence in the noxious weed program excuses or methods and a ton of more programs similarly managed. There was a time when taxpayers paid a fee and workers showed up and handled the problems before they got out of hand. Now we pay a higher fees to hire people with larger salaries and benefits just to told we’re under funded and here’s a pamphlet, DO IT YOURSELF.

    I like the old ways when we paid for things and they actually got accomplished. Maybe we should just fire the staff, save our money and hire the work done ourselves…

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You can reach Travis Baker at tvisb@wavecable.com

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