Noxious Weed Control Board

A Brief History of Noxious Weed Boards

Washington State has required landowners to control the noxious weeds within their property since 1881. However, it wasn't until 1969 that active engagement and enforcement of the legislation took effect through the establishment of county-based Noxious Weed Control Boards; these boards provide local enforcement of RCW 17.10 or WAC 16-750.

The Island County Noxious Weed Control Board implements laws and guidelines of the RCW 17.10 and WAC 16-750. In collaboration with Washington State University Extension, the board also provides educational opportunities to increase awareness of what noxious weeds are and how to tell them from native species.

So what are noxious weeds? Noxious weeds are undesirable non-native plants that have economic, ecological, or aesthetic implications. Noxious weeds are often highly destructive and extremely competitive with native flora, making them very difficult to control. The impact of noxious weeds can be quite extensive. To the farmer, noxious weeds can reduce crop yields, lower the quality of grazing lands, reduce the value of land, poison cattle, and plug waterways. For the urban gardener, noxious weeds can outgrow and dominate the desired flora, poison pets, and decrease the value of the land. Other effects of noxious weeds include land erosion, high risk of wildfires, reduce outdoor recreational activities (e.g. hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking), and destroy native plant and animal habitats.

There are four different types of classification with noxious weeds: class A, class B designates, class B, and class C, as defined by the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.

Class A Weeds: Non-native species whose distribution in Washington is still limited. Preventing new infestations and eradicating existing infestations are the highest priority.

Eradication of all Class A plants is required by law.

Class B Weeds: Non-native species presently limited to portions of the State. These species are designated for control in regions where they are not yet widespread. Preventing new infestations in these areas is a high priority. In regions where a Class B species is already abundant, control is decided at the local level, with containment as the primary goal.

Class C Weeds: Noxious weeds which are already widespread in WA or are of special interest to the state's agricultural industry. The Class C status allows counties to enforce control if locally desired.

When controlling an invasion of noxious weeds on a parcel of land there are several different methods of control that can be implemented by the land owner. It is best to use a combination of multiple control methods or intergraded pest management (IPM). Methods of control are physical, mechanical, biological, cultural, and chemical. Island County Noxious Weed Control Board (ICNWCB) provides resources to assist landowners with developing and implementing control strategies. When landowners need assistance with identification or developing a control program the ICNWCB has a program coordinator who can assist with any issues that might arise.