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County makes efforts to fight noxious weeds

Article Date: 
25 October, 2013 (All day)

Morgan County Council members are crediting their new public works department director for making a significant dent in the county’s weed problem, while other groups are worried about new noxious weeds coming to the county.
While Morgan County Facilities Director Mike Waite says the public works department’s weed control efforts this year made a “small dent” in a big problem, council members praise him for setting a good example for the rest of the county.
“We had a huge weed problem on county property,” Councilman Robert Kilmer said.  “That has all but been eliminated.”
However, the corridors through the county along Interstate 84 and the railroad still have significant weed problems that need to be addressed, said members of the Morgan County Farm Bureau.  They addressed the council, asking for professional help on their volunteer county weed board.
“A professional staff member on the weed board could be building repoire with the railroad and UDOT,” said Randy Sessions, who is on the Morgan County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.  “I recommend that because of the two corridors, there be a professional to contact to make arrangements for the access.”
Sessions said a professional is needed more now than ever because the county is facing new weeds in its borders.  Medusahead, Scotch Thistle and Viper’s Bugloss are new weeds that have found their way into Morgan County, Sessions said.
Medusahead is a winter annual grass that can grow up to 24 inches tall.  Ranches infected with the weed have suffered between 40 and 70 percent reduction in grazing capacity, according to the Utah State University Extension website. 
Scotch Thistle, which can grow up to 8 feet in height, can also form a physical barrier to grazing animals and compete with desirable plants for water and other resources.  It has purple flowering heads.
Animals also find Viper’s Bugloss unpalatable.  The weed can grow up to three feet in height with vivid blue flowers.
Dyer’s Woad, with its yellow flowers, is also an ongoing concern for the county.  Councilman Ned Mecham noted that the noxious weed can be seen throughout Weber Canyon.  Sessions noted that much of that area is controlled by the railroad.