Weeds are plants that may interfere with the management objectives of a particular area of land. Noxious weeds are those weeds that the state has mandated must be managed and controlled by resource agencies and landowners due to their negative economic and environmental impacts.
In most cases, noxious weeds evolved in other countries where environmental pressures cause them to develop aggressive and invasive characteristics. In the absence of their native predators and diseases, they are especially difficult to control. And for several reasons, managing noxious weeds in riparian areas may be the biggest challenge of all.
Invasive plant management techniques are continually evolving. Several methods of control have been shown to work in a variety of conditions, including biological control (insects and pathogens), herbicides, grazing, prescribed burning, mowing, and hand pulling. In most cases, a combination of several of these methods in conjunction with persistent monitoring and prevention measures will result in an effective weed management plan. This approach is often referred to as “Integrated Weed Management.”
Managing weeds in riparian areas can be a great challenge for many reasons. Moving water, along with heavy use by wildlife, livestock and humans, can provide a constant source of reinfestation. Higher soil moisture levels, which help many riparian species to thrive, can also benefit noxious weeds. Several herbicides, effective in upland areas, cannot be used in riparian areas due to their toxicity and effect on water quality. Any use of chemical treatments should be undertaken with great care to protect fish, wildlife and human health.Tweet