BLM Utah Weeds and Invasives Program
Noxious weeds are invasive exotic plants designated by the State of Utah as being hazardous to public health, the environment or the economy. Utah has 54 noxious weeds.
Invasive species introduced to Utah affect plant and animal communities on farms, ranches, parks, waters, forests, natural areas and in backyards. Human activity such as trade, travel, and tourism have all increased substantially, escalating the speed and volume of species movement to unprecedented levels. That’s why as Utahns we must take care about the invasive species we allow to move into and around our state.
Invasive species cost Utah millions of dollars in control and management each year. Science and common sense tell us it’s cheaper and more effective to prevent invasive species invasions than to manage them once established. It’s important to focus our limited resources on preventing invasions or treating to remove them early in the invasion cycle.
Many noxious weeds are highly competitive and have the ability to permanently degrade Utah’s native plant communities. New infestations can spread from increasing human activity and increased site vulnerability from more wildfire and other disturbances is an ongoing challenge to maintaining the integrity of our native plant communities and the values they provide us.
Not surprisingly, noxious weeds and other invasive species expansion (particularly cheatgrass and medusa wildrye) are recognized as the single greatest threat to our native plant communities.
A successful noxious weed control program is essential to maintaining the health of our native landscapes and consists of the following goals:
- Prevention of weed establishment.
- Early detection and rapid eradication of new weed infestations.
- Stabilization and rehabilitation of disturbed areas.
- Integration of weed management measures into land management actions/authorizations.
- Implementation and monitoring of weed control measures.
- Adaptive management for controlling new weed species and use of new and approved treatments.
Plants don’t adhere to land ownership boundaries, so partnerships are essential for successfully controlling weeds at the landscape level. Utah’s 20 Cooperative Weed Management Areas form a partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, tribes and landowners to set common goals and pool resources to effectively manage noxious weeds across Utah. BLM-Utah provides financial assistance to most counties in the state.
BLM's Regional Biological Control Program, in coordination with the State of Utah and APHIS, has been instrumental in successfully promoting biocontrol throughout the Great Basin for effectively combating noxious weed invasion of sagebrush steppe communities.