Learn to identify noxious and invasive plants. Take samples of questionable plants to the local UAF Cooperative Extension Service offices. Check with a local ranger/land manager before starting a backcountry hike. Find out how to identify the problem weed species in the area. Report any infestations you may come across to the local land manager or extension office. Avoid collecting plants you do not know and don’t grow them.
2. Keep yourself and your gear clean
Clean all recreation gear, clothing and shoes before leaving an area to avoid inadvertently taking seeds along to the next campsite, river or town. Seeds and spores can hitchhike on muddy hiking boots, running shoes, backpacks, tents, recreational vehicles (OHV & snowmobiles), farm and garden equipment, boats and aircrafts. Do not camp in or hike through weed infested areas. Stay on designated trails.
Buy certified weed-free forage and mulch. Dog mushing and horseback hunts have the potential to spread invasive plant seed into remote areas via bedding and feed.
3. Don’t plant a pest!
Landscape with native plants. Gardeners may be tempted to use beautiful plants that are terrible pests once they escape into the wild. To see a list of horticultural species not to plant in Alaska, view this brochure: Don’t Plant a Problem (http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/anr/FGV-00146.pdf). Voluntary Codes of Conduct for the Gardening Public (http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/aiswg/resources/FGV-00142-voluntaryCOCgarde...), provides guidelines for gardeners to follow to help reduce the introduction and spread of invasive plants in the gardening community. To find safe and suitable plants for your Alaskan landscaping needs, visit Landscape Plants for Alaska (http://alaskaplants.org/).
If you see invasive plants sold in your local greenhouse, nursery, or pet store, inform the owner that the species is invasive and suggest they not sell the species.
Volunteer with the BLM to help control invasive plants and restore native plant communities. Weed pulling events are frequent in Alaska and need your help! Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service (http://www.uaf.edu/ces/info/volunteer/) for up-to-date information on events in your area.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture provides resources for the public and other agencies to help identify and treat noxious weeds.Volunteers make a difference in our ability to manage weeds. Check with your local BLM office about opportunities to help with weed management.
The most effective way to control noxious weeds is to prevent their establishment in the first place. In Idaho, BLM supports the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign. This campaign was created to raise public awareness about the economic and environmental impacts of invasive weeds. It also encourages Idahoans to develop and participate in invasive weed eradication and management programs and to assist in preventing the spread of invasive weeds. BLM weed specialists provide noxious weed awareness outreach at schools, fairs and other events.
In Idaho, BLM requires the use of certified weed-free straw and hay on all public lands. Additionally, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s hunting regulations require that anyone using pack animals on BLM, Forest Service and State Wildlife Management Areas use only weed-free certified forage to prevent the spread of noxious weeds.
The Idaho Department of Agriculture maintains a Noxious Weed-Free Forage and Straw Certification Program to prevent noxious weeds introduction through forage and straw. The certification program maintains a registry of certified weed-free straw and hay growers.
The best thing the public can do to keep from spreading noxious weeds is to wash their vehicles, pets, and any other equipment before they go out on public lands and also as soon as they leave. This will stop the spreading of weeds picked up by vehicles, shoes, or pets.
Another good idea is to pick 5 noxious weeds and remember what they look like. If you see any of these weeds while you are out on public land, mark down your location, take a picture, and contact the local field office. They will take care of it from there.
Help keep your public lands free from noxious weeds.
Awareness – Learn to identify the noxious weeds. Prevention – Prevention is the cheapest and most effective noxious and invasive weed treatment. Do not plant weed seeds or spread plant parts that can grow into new plants.
Here are some ways to prevent the spread of weeds:
Be cautious of new varieties of flowers that will “grow everywhere.” Purple loosestrife and Dalmatian toadflax were imported into the U.S. as garden flowers.
Wash vehicles including the undercarriage and wheels. This should be the standard practice for individuals and agencies. OHVs easily transport viable parts and seeds of knapweeds and whitetops. The dried mud on field, ranch, construction, and fire vehicles can be weed seed banks.
Drive on established roads and trails. These are the places people are looking for and treating noxious weeds.
When using pack animals, carry only feed that is processed or certified weed free. For 96 hours before entering public lands, feed pack animals only certified weed free feed. Remove weed seeds from pack animals by brushing them thoroughly and cleaning their hooves.
Sheep camps should be switched to weed free hay and processed feeds.
Detection – If you find some noxious or invasive weeds, identify the location and extent of the infestation. Tell the landowner or land managing agency so they can take steps to control the weeds. The public is encouraged to report noxious weed infestations found on public lands to the Noxious Weed Specialist at the nearest BLM Office. Such reports need to include a very definite location. This could be a location on a detailed map, or GPS coordinates (lat-longs or UTMs).
Treatment – In order to effectively treat or manage noxious weeds you have to correctly identify and know something about them. For example, hand pulling established leafy spurge, tall whitetop, or whitetop may be worse than doing nothing. These are perennial rhizomatous species. Removing the above ground growth just activates buds on the rhizomes to produce new plants.
One of the best ways to help control and prevent the spread of noxious weeds is to learn to identify species that may be present in your area. The New Mexico State University publication "Troublesome Weeds of New Mexico," is a guide to weeds found on the New Mexico Department of Agriculture's Noxious Weeds List.
The most effective way to control noxious weeds is to prevent their establishment in the first place. BLM weed specialists provide noxious weed awareness outreach at schools, fairs and other events.
In Utah, BLM requires the use of certified weed-free straw and hay on all public lands.
The Utah Department of Agriculture maintains a Weed-Free Hay and Straw Certification Program to prevent noxious weeds introduction through forage and straw. The certification program maintains a registry of certified weed-free straw and hay growers.
As most landowners can attest to; pulling, digging, mowing, or spraying weeds, does not typically rank high in leisure time activities. The more effort spent initially to prevent the spread of weeds, the less cost and effort for treatment. Considering the thousands of acres of federal land the BLM manages, prevention of invasive plant establishment is the most practical, economical, and effective means of management.
Perhaps the leading cause of weed movement is directly related to the activities we engage in. Practicing the following preventative measures will go a long way to ensure weeds are not being spread.
Learn to identify invasive plants in your area
Avoid traveling through weed infested areas
Report weed sightings to the local county weed control supervisor or land management agency
Clean vehicles, pack animals and pets before entering the backcountry
Clean all recreational clothing and equipment before leaving an area
For 96 hours prior to entering public land, feed pack animals only certified weed free feed
Support local, state, and federal efforts to control invasive and noxious weeds