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Managing noxious weeds is critical


Gov. John Hickenlooper declared July 10 to 16 as Colorado Noxious Weed Awareness Week to highlight the importance of managing noxious weeds. There are 55 weeds on Colorado's noxious weed list; Colorado's most aggressive and widespread weeds are: Canada thistle, field bindweed, leafy spurge, Russian knapweed, and yellow toadflax.

"Noxious weeds threaten our quality of life; they impact agriculture, water quality, recreational opportunities, and wildlife," said Colorado State Weed Coordinator, Steve Ryder. "We are working hard to eradicate, control, and minimize weed infestations across Colorado."

Noxious weeds infest more than one million acres in Colorado and cost Colorado landowners an estimated $100 million annually in lost productivity of range and crop land. 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 implemented an aggressive program to manage weeds, with an emphasis on early detection and eradication. The department has helped communities form partnerships and coordinate weed management activities. The State Weed Coordinator has distributed $350,000 to $400,000 annually in grants to assist counties, municipalities and others in their weed management efforts.

"You can help by working to identify and manage the noxious weeds in your community," said Ryder.

Noxious Weed Awareness Week will be filled with local activities such as weed identification and management workshops, community weed pulling events, high-tech mapping equipment demonstrations, weed infestation tours and educational displays. For activities planned in your area, please contact your county weed manager.

More information, including a county weed supervisor list and photos and lists of noxious weeds, can be found by visiting www.colorado.gov/ag/csd and clicking on "Noxious Weed Management Program."

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