What Are Noxious Weeds?

A “noxious weed” is a terrestrial, aquatic, or marine plant designated by county, state, or federal government as among those representing the greatest public menace, and that is a top priority for action by weed control programs.  They are considered as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, economy, wildlife, forestlands, or property.  

Noxious weeds present a danger to our environment, our animals, and our economy. These introduced non-native species can cause reductions in agricultural production, environmental degradation, and added maintenance costs.  Once invasive plants spread to natural areas, they harm native plants, wildlife, and forestlands and can be nearly impossible to eradicate.

Unc unchecked, noxious weeds can displace desirable plants and reduce the quality of crops and pastures on farms, ranches, and rangelands.  At a minimum, these weeds are less nutritious and palatable than pasture grasses and forbs.  Many of the plants on the state and county noxious weed lists are toxic to pets and livestock, and in some cases, ingestion can result in death.  

Public and private infrastructure, such as sewer lines, sidewalks, fences, buildings, and retaining walls, can be compromised by the roots and stems of some weedy species.  Tree-of-Heaven is known to cause sidewalk heaving, cracked foundations, and damaged bridge abutments. English Ivy can kill or topple trees, damage home siding, and detach downspouts.  Thicket-forming English Hawthorn can damage fences and block access roads and wildlife corridors.  Noxious weed infestations can significantly lower property and resale values.

Noxious weeds have become so thoroughly established in some areas and are spreading so rapidly on private, state, county, and federally owned lands that they have been declared to be a menace to public welfare. Steps leading to eradication, where possible, and intensive control are necessary. It is further recognized that the responsibility for eradication and intensive control rests not only on the private landowner and operator but also through the cooperation and educational services provided by city, county, state, and federal government agencies.