I sincerely want to thank everyone who attended the conference this week and especially want to thank those of you who attended the NDA Roundtable on Wednesday. I also would like to thank Steve Lewis for facilitating this meeting and for taking notes. I have attached Steve’s notes for everyone to review.
Funding, enforcement, and advocacy were the topics most discussed, however I think we can agree that education and outreach are a high priority as well.
I want to keep this dialog going and look forward to discussing any ideas you may have for enhancing an effective statewide noxious weed control program. The NDA is an integral part of this program, however legislative and county support along with active participation from CWMA’s, Weed Control Districts, Conservation Districts, Federal partners, NWMA and other associations is also required. Strengthening the existing relationships between all groups will be an ongoing endeavor I hope we will all work toward.
Notes form the Roundtable with Nevada Department of Agriculture RE: Statewide Weed Management Efforts in conjunction with the Nevada Weed Management Association 2013 Conference at John Ascuaga’s Nugget on October 30th.
About 35 conference attendees participated in the Roundtable. Following a summary of Dept. of Ag’s noxious weed management services by Robert Little, participants were asked: How could the noxious weed management program better meet your needs? The following items were discussed.
The most critical need expressed was that of funding for local weed control programs. It was suggested that the language of the original OHV registration bill be investigated to determine if funding could be made available through that source, as well as funding through the sale of license plates. Many expressed concern with the $100,000 abatement fund in that there was little appetite for forced abatement, particularly in the rural counties. People felt that it’s too easy to point a finger at others not controlling their noxious weed and not being force to take control. For example, federal agencies with vast infestations seem to avoid regulation. It was suggested Nevada look to other states with effective weed control mechanisms. Utah was thought to be a good model to emulate.
In regards to encouraging federal agencies to treat noxious weeds it was suggested that letters from county officials should go directly to the local federal agency manager. It was also suggested that it is important to build strong working relationships with these agencies as produced via Utah’s model. Some federal agency weed control action might come from suggesting they treat a buffer, adjacent to private lands, if they can’t treat the entire infestation.
Weed management efforts need more support and advocacy. Some legislative funds might be realized through education of legislators, particularly southern NV legislators. Perhaps Lynn Hettrick could help on this front. The NvWMA should become aggressively engaged in lobbying efforts to increase funding. The Association might need to revise its bylaws as they were modified following a lapse in their government committee participation and activity. Need was expressed to “get vocal” concerning support and advocacy to ultimately increase funding.
How many CWMAs and Weed Districts exist in Nevada? No one has an accurate account of these numbers.
There was concern that large property tracks, seemly too large for regulatory action by Dept. of Ag, might be overlooked or not addressed due to political or other reasons. It was thought that counties could apply some legal pressure for these lands to be treated. It was mentioned that it is difficult to force abatement on smaller parcels when there are large tracks of land, some of them federal lands, allowed to go untreated. As an alternate to force abatement, landowners refusing to treat weeds have been convinced to do so through small demonstration plots on their land. Once “sold” on the weed treatment results, they seem to pursue active control measures. Another alternative to forced abatement is through education and the use of informative door hangers.
Federal agencies welcome local authorities to petition respective federal agencies for increased funding. In many instances, federal agencies are short of fund to treat weeds. Their case of support is enhanced when locals reinforce the need.
The NV Dept. of Ag has the authority to demand each county to force abatement. They are working with counties by developing Memorandums of Understandings.
County commissioners need to learn the difference between Weed Districts, CWMAs, and Conservation Districts. Robert has been working to improve commissioner knowledge on this subject. Weed Districts have more clout than CWMAs. Can we get Conservation District more involved in weed control? Many CDs suffer from member burn out. CDs that are most effective have part time employees.
Notes by Steve Lewis, Extension Educator, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension