Noxious Weed Control Board provides service to all citizens
Based on a recent article in the April 17 Cheney Free Press — “Cheney council finds county weed proposal noxious”— and comments made by the Cheney City Council, I would like to explain the Washington state Noxious Weed Law and the role and function of the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board.
Ultimately what has been happening is that incorporated cities and towns such as Cheney have been receiving the same service as the unincorporated areas of the county, Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, but bearing little of the cost.
By reallocating the assessment across all the parcels in the county, we are making our funding source more equitable for a service that has always been available and used by all the citizens in Spokane County. The article states that there would be a $2 minimum per parcel with an additional 6 cents or 12 cents per acre depending upon the soil type.
To clarify, most parcel owners would pay only the $2 minimum. The per-acre rate only impacts a small portion of landowners in the county that own large acreage parcels.
The nature of noxious weed control has changed primarily from an agricultural issue to more of an urban issue due to changes in the county’s demographics. The Weed Law states that it is each landowner’s duty to prevent and control the spread of noxious weeds. Since plants grow without regard to property lines or political jurisdictions, everyone’s cooperation is needed — city residents, farmers, government land agencies, foresters and ranchers all have a role to play.
RCW 17.10 directs the Washington state Noxious Weed Control Board to create an official Noxious Weed List and mandates which weeds will be required for control in each county. It is the primary duty of each county Noxious Weed Board to help facilitate the noxious weed law with landowners and municipalities and assist in their efforts to control their noxious weed issues.
Our field staff has been educated in the state’s Noxious Weed Law and they are the subject matter experts for identification and control methods of all the noxious weeds found on the County’s Noxious Weed list. They respond to thousands of calls each year from citizens throughout the county as well as inspecting and notifying landowners with noxious weeds. Ultimately, our goal is to control the noxious weeds, whether that is through voluntary compliance or enforcement action as established by RCW 17.10.
If you have a question about the role and function of the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board, please visit our website at http://www.spokanecounty.org./weedboard or contact the office at (509) 477-5777.
Chip Magnuson is a member of the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board and a Cheney-area resident.