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[RC] Weed-free feed required on USFS lands - Hickory Ridge Arabians

From your Trails Committee Chairman..Jerry Fruth


March 12, 2003

Weed-free feed required on USFS lands

<mailto:rpurcell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

In an effort to control the spread of noxious weeds on federal lands, the
U.S. Forest signed an order that requires recreational livestock users to
carry certified weed-free feed on Western forestlands.

The order is effective in Nevada, Utah, Southern Idaho, and areas in
California that are part of the Carson and Bridgeport ranger districts in
the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

"Noxious weeds are threatening both Nevada and the Sierra Front's
rangelands and forests by out-competing the native plants that wildlife
and
livestock depend upon, which reduces hunting, fishing and camping
opportunities," said Robert Vaught, forest supervisor for the
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

"Since noxious weeds are spreading nationally at an alarming rate of
almost
six miles a day on federal lands, it's more important than ever to use
weed-free livestock feed."

Recreational livestock includes pack horses, llamas, and horses for
pleasure riding.

Weeds can be native or non-native, invasive or non invasive, and noxious
or
not noxious. Legally, a noxious weed is any plant designated by a federal,
state or county government as injurious to public health, agriculture,
recreation, wildlife or property, according to Larry Hughes, weed control
supervisor for Douglas County.

A noxious weed is defined as a plant that grows out of place, is
competitive and persistent.

The Bureau of Land Management considers plants invasive if they have been
introduced into an environment where they did not evolve. As a result,
they
usually have no natural enemies to limit their reproduction and spread and
some invasive plants produce significant changes to vegetation,
composition, structure, or ecosystem function.

There are 35 noxious weeds on the Nevada list, according to Hughes.

In Carson Valley, Hughes said 11 on the state list have been found,
including the hoary cress (short whitetop), perennial pepperweed (tall
whitetop), yellow star thistle, Canada thistle, Russian knapweed, diffuse
knapweed, puncturevine, spotted knapweed, Dalmatian toadflax, rush
skeletonweed, tamarisk (saltcedar) and Scotch thistle.

Funded out of the county's general fund, Hughes department, which includes
four seasonal employees, gives general advice, sells chemicals to fight
noxious weeds, and assistance in trying to keep a handle on infestations
around the area.

"We are gearing up for the current weed season," he said.

"We've been able to map (infestation areas) and begin control (measures),"
he said.

"If we find a new area, we drop everything and jump on it."

Kim Hansen-Wolfe, the weed inspector for Carson Valley with the National
Resources Conservation Service, said area farmers and ranchers are good
about using weed-free feed and working together to keep the weeds under
control.

She can certify weed-free feeds. Acceptable feeds on forest service land
include weed-free hay, hay cubes made from certified weed-free hay and any
pelleted feed. Bales and containers must be tagged or marked as weed free,
or the original weed-free certification needs to be available to show
forest field personnel. Weed-free feeds cost the same or sometimes a
little
more than standard feed.

Hughes said while the BLM is still working through procedural process, it
won't be long before that entity also issues a similar order.

For more information, call Hughes at 782-9835.



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