Common Questions about Noxious Weeds

What are Noxious Weeds?

There are many different definitions for noxious weeds. In California, there are two lists of noxious weeds, the List of Noxious Weeds in California and their "Pest Rating" developed by the California Department of Food And Agriculture, and the List of Wildland Weeds in California developed by the California Exotic Pest Plant Council.The Bureau of Land Management focuses attention on weeds from these lists thatinterfere with management objectives for a given area of land at a given point in time. Basically, if an exotic plant is severely impacting our ability to properly manage for healthy native plant communities, it is considered a noxious weed. 

How Do I Identify, Prevent, and Control Noxious Weeds?

One good book that will help you to identify noxious weeds is Weeds of the West - developed by the Western Society of Weed Science, 630 pages, $19.50. It is available from the Weed Management Resource Library, along with many other noxious weed documents. Call them at 1-800-554-WEED and ask for a free catalog.

The newly developed California Noxious Weed Projects Database will soon enable you to find out who is doing what in California, and will eventually contain full descriptions of noxious weeds along with management strategies. Check this site frequently to watch it develop. 

What is Being Done About Noxious Weeds at the Federal Level?

Just as we have an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on noxious weeds in California, there is a national MOU on noxious weeds that 17 agencies, including BLM, have signed. The result of that MOU is that the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds was established. This group works to exchange information between agencies and keep Washington informed about noxious weeds.

Since noxious weeds have an obvious impact on noxious weeds, the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee has established the Exotic Plant Working Group , which primarily focuses on education. They are working on fact sheets for many noxious weeds, and have established connections with many different agencies and organizations. 

How Can I Get Specific Weed Questions Answered?

There are several Internet groups that will be able to answer your questions. One is the Noxious Weed Discussion List maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS). There is also a listserver for the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission that you can join by writing to with the following message in the body: subscribe aliens-l

Send questions to California State Office.