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Washington's noxious weeds are invasive exotic introductions. None are native to Washington. These plants tend to spread rapidly and are extremely aggressive and difficult to control. Noxious weeds impact Washington's natural resources in a variety of ways. They pose public health hazards, threaten domestic and wildlife habitat, lower property values and agricultural productivity, and reduce our enjoyment of recreational areas. In short, noxious weeds are everybody's problem!
The state weed law requires the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board to develop a state weed list every year. The list is divided into three different classes of noxious weeds, reflecting different control priorities. Because prevention or control of early infestations is the most cost-effective, the highest priority goes to controlling noxious weeds with the most limited distribution, the lowest to those that are the most widespread. Over a hundred and forty plants are on the Washington State Weed List (PDF).
County weed boards are also required to develop their own list annually. The county weed list (PDF) must include the highest priority noxious weeds (Class A and B designates), but the county weed board may also select additional lower priority noxious weeds for mandatory control. The Board encourages citizens to help set reasonable local control priorities and policies by participating in the development of the county weed list during the annual public hearing, and by attending board meetings which are held every other month beginning in February.
The state weed law makes landowners responsible for the eradication of Class A and the control of Class B designated noxious weeds on their property. This law applies to all landowners including the state, local governments and agencies, and private citizens. The federal government is subject to the Federal Noxious Weed Act, which is similar to Washington's weed law. Landowners who fail to control Class A and Class B designate noxious weeds on their property may be subjected to monetary penalties and/or billed for the cost of control.
No specific method of control is required; the landowner may chose any cultural, mechanical, chemical, or biological method that obtains the desired result. The type of control selected by the landowner should take into consideration the weed, its life cycle, distribution, and location. Local contractors (PDF) are also available to control weeds for landowners who don't wish to do it themselves. If a landowner buys chemicals or biocontrol agents to control any plant on the state weed list, Clallam County can reimburse them up to half of the cost. The property needs to be inspected both before and after control is carried out, and some restrictions may apply. For more details about this Cost-Share program, please call the Noxious Weed office at 360-417-2442.
Under state law, a county Weed Control Board can be funded in one of two ways; either from the general fund, or through a county-wide assessment. Clallam County's Weed Control Program is funded by an assessment.
For information on and help in identifying specific plants, please visit the Noxious Weed Control page with images and information concerning noxious weeds and other common plants found in Clallam County. Additionally, the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has a useful searchable database for noxious weeds found in Washington.