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Noxious Weed Control Board meets Jan. 15 to determine 2014 King County noxious weed list

Noxious weeds can be hazardous to people and animals, harm fish and wildlife habitat, and they can create headaches for landowners big and small. The King County Noxious Weed Control Board meets Jan. 15 in Bellevue to establish the list of weeds that will require particular attention in 2014.

The board meets at 4 p.m. at the Bellevue Lake Hills Library, 15590 Lake Hills Blvd., to formalize its annual “noxious weed list” – those species identified by the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board as Class A or Class B weeds and requiring control.

Examples of Class A weeds include giant hogweed – an ornamental escapee and public health hazard; and Class B weeds include purple loosestrife – a wetland invader that degrades wildlife habitat and clogs waterways. While these weeds are damaging to natural and agricultural resources, their distribution is still limited enough that containment and eradication are possible in King County.

The King County Noxious Weed Control Board can also select additional state-listed noxious weeds for required control. For example, in past years the board has selected tansy ragwort for required control because of the weed’s impact on livestock and hay production.

According to state noxious weed law, a county weed board can require control of species only if they are listed on the state’s noxious weed list. However, counties can also add other noxious weed species to the county weed list for educational purposes.

For instance, English holly and bittersweet nightshade are on the King County Weed Board’s “weeds of concern” list because of their potential impact to native habitat, but they are not on the state noxious weed list and control is not required.

In general, control is only required for noxious weeds that are still limited enough in distribution to allow for effective containment and eradication. For widespread noxious weeds, the King County Weed Board encourages control through education and technical assistance.

Two good examples of widespread noxious weeds are English ivy and Scotch broom. While these two serious pests can significantly affect habitat, they are already too widespread for county-wide control, so the county board instead focuses on outreach and education, encouraging control where feasible and teaching effective control methods.

For more information on the King County weed list and the Washington state noxious weed law, visit www.kingcounty.gov/weeds under “Weed Lists and Laws,” or contact Sasha Shaw at sasha.shaw@kingcounty.gov. The public is invited to attend and provide comments or proposals on weed list changes for the year. Comments can also be submitted in advance by email to sasha.shaw@kingcounty.gov.

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