Craig brief: Gov. proclaims Colorado Weed Awareness Week
This week, Coloradans are encouraged to remember the importance of managing noxious weeds, which negatively impact agriculture, water quality, recreational opportunities and wildlife.
Gov. Bill Ritter declared this week as Colorado Weed Awareness Week in an effort to raise awareness about the issue.
“Noxious weeds threaten the integrity of Colorado’s lands,” said Kelly Uhing, Colorado state weed coordinator. “Together, we can effectively and appropriately control weed infestations and minimize the threat weeds pose to agriculture, Colorado’s natural heritage and our quality of life.”
There are 71 weeds on Colorado’s noxious weed list. The most aggressive and widespread weeds are Canada thistle, field bindweed, leafy spurge, Russian knapweed and yellow toadflax.
“While we work hard to stop the spread of many noxious weeds, there are also weeds we still hope to eradicate from Colorado, including yellow starthistle and Mediterranean sage,” Uhing said.
Weeds cost Colorado landowners an estimated $100 million annually in lost productivity of range and crop land, and noxious weeds have infested more than one million acres in Colorado. Federal agencies estimate that noxious weeds are spreading on federal public lands at a rate of 4,600 acres per day.
To protect Colorado’s lands, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has helped communities form partnerships and coordinate weed management activities. Uhing also has distributed $350,000 in grants each year to assist counties, municipalities and others in their weed management efforts.
Moffat County recently received a grant to pay for 85 percent of the cost to hire a two-man crew to eradicate yellow starthistle, a weed that is particularly poisonous to horses.
For more information on CDA’s noxious weed management program, including photos and lists of noxious weeds, visit http://www.colorado.gov/ag/csd.
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