Noxious weed control a success in the area

Bike wash being set up to prevent spread of weeds

By Mark Reaman

Noxious weed management in the valley is one of the unsung successes in the upper valley. Recent collaborative efforts have helped tamp down the spread of noxious weeds. The Crested Butte council heard about the accomplishment and was urged to continue the program at the Monday, November 5 Town Council meeting.

The Weed Advisory Board is mandated to report to the council annually. Parks and recreation director Janna Hansen led a discussion detailing how noxious weeds are managed in town and throughout the valley.

“The county, Mt. Crested Butte, the town of Crested Butte, the Crested Butte Land Trust and city of Gunnison has seen great collaboration on this matter and had good results,” Hansen told the council at the meeting.

The partners have jointly hired Jason Evanko to successfully manage weeds in the upper valley the last two summers. “The intent of the shared position was to manage weeds in all municipalities within the county, thereby meeting weed management goals both within the towns and on a larger scale by reducing the migration of weeds from municipalities into other important ecological, agricultural and recreational areas of the Gunnison Basin, “ Hansen explained in a memo to the council.

Jenny Reithel of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory told the council that the board is now “at a place where we know what works and what doesn’t. It is money well leveraged across several different groups. We are the Wildflower Capital of Colorado and we want to protect that,” she said. “By managing weeds in town we keep them out of the backcountry.”

Reithel admitted it was probably a forever project but noted there has been visible success. “Some weeds are easier to control than others,” Reithel said.

“It works best when all the entities are managing weeds in similar ways,” said Hansen. “And weeds are being managed effectively throughout the county with success.”

“It is one of the most successful collaborative efforts we’ve seen,” said Crested Butte mayor Jim Schmidt, as he noted that white daisies are considered noxious weeds and are “almost gone.”

“The board is encouraging the council to keep funding the shared position,” said Hansen. She said that efforts were expanding, citing the example that a bike wash will be set up next summer near the town bike park for riders, with the intent to stop spreading weeds and seeds.

“Collaboration is extremely important with this issue, as weeds don’t recognize jurisdictions,” added the county’s John Mugglestone.

Council will consider the funding as part of its budget discussion.

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