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Best Practices in the Battle Against Noxious Weeds

Noxious weeds are plants designated by federal, state or local officials as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife or property. Once a weed is classified as noxious, authorities are empowered to take a variety of actions to contain and manage it. At the federal level, for example, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated aquatic, parasitic and terrestrial plants as noxious. USDA has the authority to limit the interstate transport of noxious weeds, to establish quarantines, and to inspect, seize and destroy noxious weeds discovered at ports of entry and exit, nurseries and other sites.

State and local officials who are on the front lines in the battle against noxious weeds also have broad authorities within their own jurisdiction – enabling them to designate noxious weeds and to defend against them. Together the states have designated almost 600 weed species as noxious. In addition, each state has established its own requirements for the control and movement of noxious weeds and noxious weed seeds within its borders. States can establish quarantines, seize noxious plants and require landowners to treat noxious weeds growing on their property.

WSSA recently interviewed noxious weed authorities in Delaware, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wyoming about their noxious weed control efforts. Seven best practices emerged from those discussions.

Read the WSSA factsheet here.