Laws

Overview

In recognition of the threats caused by invasive, exotic plants, a state law was instituted to control the introduction and spread of noxious weeds. The original purpose behind Washington's primary noxious weed law, Chapter 17.10 RCW, was to limit economic loss due to the presence and spread of noxious weeds on or near agricultural land. In 1987, RCW 17.10 was revised, with an expanded focus to control the negative impacts of noxious weeds in all natural areas.

The Washington State Weed Board and the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) work with the activated weed boards to carry out the state weed laws, which include: Chapter 17.10 RCW Noxious Weeds - Control Boards; Chapter 17.04 RCW Weed Districts; and Chapter 17.06 RCW Intercounty Weed Districts.

Each of these weed control laws assigns primary responsibility for noxious weed control to the landowner - whether it is private, state or county lands. Controlling noxious weeds is a cooperative task, and it takes the effort of all landowners. It is the responsibility of the county, or district, weed board to ensure weed control meets minimum standards.

Chapter 16-750 WAC State Noxious Weed List and Schedule of Monetary Penalties contains the annually updated Washington State Noxious Weed List, definitions - including Class A, Class B, B designate, and Class C weeds and descriptions of region boundaries for Class B designate weeds.

Quarantine List

The Washington Department of Agriculture maintains a plant quarantine list - Plants and Seeds Whose Sales are Prohibited in Washington State. Once a species is placed on the quarantine list, it is illegal to transport, buy, sell or offer for sale, any quarantined species. It is also illegal to distribute seed packets, flower seed blends or 'wildflower mixes' of these plants. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Plant Services Division has regulatory control over quarantined species that are offered for sale. This list is not updated annually, and it does not include all of the state listed noxious weeds. Many of the quarantined species are considered ornamentals, and escaped ornamentals are one significant source of noxious weed infestations. View the list of Plants and Seeds Whose Sale Are Prohibited In Washington State.

The WSDA Plant Services Division has a responsibility to prohibit the sale of plants on the quarantine list. The nursery industry and plant suppliers have a responsibility to recognize quarantined noxious weeds and remove them from sales lists. Landowners have the responsibility to control or eradicate noxious weeds growing on their property. By working together we can prevent the negative impact of noxious weeds in our state.

For more information on quarantine rules and regulations, please contact the WSDA Nursery Inspection Program.

Kittitas County Noxious Weed Control Board Policies and Procedures

General Philosophy

The Kittitas County Noxious Weed Control Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) will enforce the management of noxious weeds in accordance with Chapter 17.10 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The Board has elected to institute a management program with an educational emphasis as a means of assisting landowners in the identification of noxious weed concerns and implementation of appropriate management practices to control or to prevent the spread of plants designated on the Kittitas County Noxious Weed List.

To ensure the effective implementation of Chapter 17.10 the Board will contract competent employees and, in support of their activities, provide sufficient resources and subsequent training opportunities in achieving the policy directives of the Board. The Board will convey the benefits inherent with the management of noxious weeds by interpersonal contact with landowners employing mass media sources such as newspaper and radio stations, a periodic newsletter, presentations at educational events, demonstrations and field trips or any other activity that promotes a stewardship ethic, and by conducting regularly scheduled meetings of the Board.

It is not the intent of the Board to cause undue financial burden upon a landowner. The Coordinator, in accordance with the directives of the Board, shall jointly develop an integrated noxious weed management program with the landowner or, if appropriate, a duly designated operator. When a determination is made that the management program has either not been enacted or ineffectually implemented an enforcement initiative will be pursued as stipulated in RCW 17.10.190 and RCW 17.10.310 through RCW 17.10.330. It shall be the responsibility of every landowner, in accordance with RCW 17.10.140 and RCW 17.10.150, to eradicate all Class A noxious weeds and to control and prevent the spread of Class B and Class C noxious weeds from their property.

Policy Statement

It is the responsibility of the Kittitas County Noxious Weed Control Board to protect and preserve the agricultural, recreational, wildlife habitat, and natural areas of the Kittitas County from the degrading impact of exotic and invasive noxious weeds. A noxious weed is legally defined in RCW 17.10 as "...a plant that when established is highly destructive, competitive, or difficult to control by agricultural or chemical practices."

Noxious weed control has long been associated with the protection of rangeland and cropland. Costing an estimated 24% of the state's gross agricultural product, noxious weeds are a justifiable concern. Recently, concerns over the loss of native ecosystems, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreational areas have raised additional support for noxious weed control.

It is hoped that voluntary compliance of weed control can be achieved by enhancing public awareness through education. The Kittitas County Noxious Weed Control Board has many publications on noxious weeds available to the public as well as backpack sprayers that are made available to landowners as a free public service. Weed Board staff and Cooperative Extension agents are also available to give recommendations and advice on weed control procedures.

According to state law and RCW 17.10 it is the landowners' responsibility to control noxious weeds on their land. If voluntary compliance to RCW 17.10 is not established a notice of the infestation is sent to the landowner. The landowner must demonstrate a concerted and good faith effort in controlling the noxious weed infestation. It is not the desire of the Weed Board to enforce on the landowner. Enforcement proceedings will only be implemented if the landowner does not comply with RCW 17.10 in controlling noxious weed infestations on their property.

In order to control and eradicate noxious weeds in Kittitas County everyone must work together. We are beginning to make significant progress and it is our hope that we can make this another successful year in weed control. We thank you for your support in the past and we are looking forward to working with you in the future. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact The Kittitas County Noxious Weed Control Board at (509) 962-7007.