The Archuleta County Noxious Weeds Ordinance and what it means for local landowners

By Ethan Proud
SUN Columnist
With the passage of the Archuleta County Noxious Weeds Ordinance, there is new light shed on an old issue in Archuleta County.
With an influx of new residents and part-time homeowners, many newcomers to Colorado may not be familiar with noxious weeds or the Colorado Noxious Weed Act (CWNA). The word “enforcement” in the ordinance may seem harsh, but it is a tool for education and to bring landowners into compliance following county-approved procedures.
The enforcement is the final step of the ordinance and landowners who receive a letter have the chance to manage the weeds on their property or to work with the Archuleta County Weed supervisor to develop a management plan and to receive educational resources, advice and best practices for their property.
When the phrase “weed treatment” is uttered, it often conjures to mind large spray operations and herbicide use. While herbicides are the most economic and effective treatment when managing large areas, small lots can be managed with a variety of mechanical and cultural controls.
If a noncompliant landowner responds favorably to the notice, the entire process can remain amiable and beneficial to the landowner. Noncompliant properties that do not respond to the notices or take the first steps to manage their noxious weeds will have their property treated after a warrant is issued. This is a last-resort step and is not the goal of the ordinance.
Given these changes, it is important for landowners to brush up on noxious weed information and the CWNA. The state mandates that all landowners are responsible for the management of noxious weeds on their property. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has the complete noxious weed list under its conservation tab. A list of prevalent weeds and fact sheets can be found on the Archuleta County website under the Public Works Department. Noxious weeds are prioritized as lists A, B and C, and each list has different management goals.
A-list weeds are slated for statewide eradication as they occur in the most manageable populations. B-list species are designated for containment and eradication outside of containment zones. C-list species are widespread enough that the goal is suppression in order for native perennial release.
These goals will be taken into consideration when enforcing properties. Having a noxious population on your land is nigh unavoidable, especially in recent development, and the goal of the noxious ordinance is management not eradication.
For more information, please contact the Archuleta County weed supervisor at eproud@archuletacounty.org or 264-6773.
Archuleta County Weed and Pest is your local resource for managing noxious weed populations and controlling other pests.
Upcoming events
April 30, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Pesticide Education Workshop at the Extension office. This is a free workshop.
May 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: The Farm Bureau is sponsoring a Land Stewardship Symposium and Wolf Presentation. Come learn about soil health, toxic plants, water as a resource and tree health. In the afternoon, you will hear from Mike Smith on insurance, and then keynote speaker Denny Behrens will speak on wolves and livestock. There is no need to register, just show up. Free lunch included.
May 25: Bee workshop. We will be heading to the Banded Peaks Ranch to visit with beekeeping experts and get hands-on experience with the bees. The workshop costs $25 and is limited to 20 people. Lunch will be provided. This is an all-day workshop, so please wear appropriate clothing and anything else you would need for being outside all day. Please call the office to sign up and pay.
Aug. 1-4: Archuleta County Fair.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

This story was posted on April 20, 2019.