Why Should I Care?
Noxious weeds usually come from other continents, and are not native to the landscape. Sometimes referred to as ‘invasive plants’, these plants are aggressive, lack control, and out-compete native plants which leads to the destruction of habitat and forage.
A healthy forest, and lush vegetation are required for elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, and antelope habitat. Meadows and aspen forests provide habitat for sage grouse, ruffed and blue grouse, ducks, and geese. River systems provide habitat for cutthroat tour species. These areas, however, can be quickly destroyed by invasive plants if left uncontrolled. Plants such as spotted knapweed can take over thousands of acres, reducing forage and habitat for game, leading to fewer licenses issued. Invasive plants such as salt cedar and purple loosestrife grow in shallow water, destroying trout habitat as well as increasing erosion on riverbanks.
Sportsman are required to bring only certified weed-free forage onto national forest lands to prevent introduction of noxious weeds. They can also help out by pulling invasive species when possible, and by reporting weeds to local agencies such as the BLM, Forest Service, and Weed & Pest District.
Noxious weeds compete with native grasses, forage, and crops on rangeland and pasture. Noxious weeds also consume fertilizer and water, and can become very expensive to control over time. Some weeds such as leafy spurge, poison hemlock, houndstongue, and black henbane are even toxic to livestock. Invasives often appear first on ditch banks and in fallow areas, and quick detection and control are the best option. State laws require landowners to control noxious weeds, and prevent further spread. Agencies such as the Sublette County Weed & Pest provide consulting on weed control, as well as reduced price herbicides and spray equipment.
Landowners sometimes do not notice noxious weeds on their property until they start choking out native vegetation. Noxious weeds are not only expensive to control, but an infestation can reduce the value of land. Noxious weeds also increase soil erosion by displacing the native species that would normally hold soil in place and be able to withstand floods. These invasive plants are not part of the native landscape, and allowing them to flourish can cause permanent damage to land. The most cost effective way to manage weeds is with early detection and early eradication of small infestations. The Sublette County Weed & Pest, along with other local agencies, can identify suspicious plants, consult with you on noxious weed control, and even provide reduced price herbicides and lend out spraying equipment.