Governor Polis has designated May 15-22, 2021 as Noxious Weed Awareness Week in Colorado, stating that noxious weeds are a threat to the state’s agricultural crops and infrastructure, as well as to wildlife habitat. As the 2021 growing season gets underway, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of the state’s cooperative network of noxious weed management agencies and their vital work in helping to protect Colorado’s ecological future.
County noxious weed control programs, along with weed control efforts by municipalities, conservation districts and private, non-profit organizations, have been working hard to contain and suppress, and when possible, eliminate non-native plants. These “noxious weeds” are often able to out-compete native and other desirable plants, resulting in loss of agriculturally productive pasture and range land, along with native plant communities which native wildlife depend on.
“Weed Awareness Week is a time to celebrate the hard work of noxious weed managers, and to learn more about noxious weeds at local events being held around the state,” said Steve Ryder, State Weed Coordinator at CDA. “If allowed to spread, noxious weeds are not only costly to agriculture, but also reduce viable wildlife habitat, present heightened wildfire danger and contribute to soil erosion. Some are even poisonous, to both livestock and humans.”
CDA’s Palisade Insectary adds another key component to Colorado noxious weed management by providing safe effective biological control agents, and the knowledge needed to use them to combat some of the state's worst weeds.
“We have agents to control a number of Colorado’s worst weeds, and we stay in contact with overseas scientists to track future agents to assist Colorado’s farmers, ranchers and the general public in noxious weed control,” said Dan Bean, Biological Control Program Director at CDA. “Our agents are also available to the general public for weed control as well, and our Request-A-Bug program makes biological control practices accessible statewide.”
The Colorado Noxious Weed Act, now in its 31st year, is the guiding statute for noxious weed control efforts around the state. It states that all residents of Colorado have a duty to manage noxious weeds on lands they own or manage.