In Short

Noxious weed warriors: Sign up for grant money now

By: - October 25, 2021 1:44 pm
Common reed

Common reed is among dozens of noxious weeds in Oregon. (Oregon Department of Agriculture)

Gardeners, if you think you’ve got a problem controlling dandelions, take note: Oregon watersheds, wildlife habitat and farm land are threatened by dozens of noxious weeds.

Troublesome plants vary by region. In the northeast, Wallowa County has battled welted thistle that threaten alfalfa fields, while on the coast, Curry County is waging a war against gorse. 

“Every part of our state is different,” said Tristan Berg, noxious weed grant coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Noxious weeds are non-native plants that can cause severe impacts to Oregon’s agricultural economy or natural resources. They can also harm recreational areas, poison animals or humans or endanger native flora and fauna by encroaching into forests, rangeland, waterways and conservation areas. They invade farmland and overpower native grasses and other plants. They can even smother trees.


 The Oregon Department of Agriculture is offering grant training on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Join the meeting here:

Call in toll free here: 877-309-2073 or 646-749-3129; the access code is 569-538-389

To apply for a grant, go here. Berg can be reached at [email protected]. The next applications are due Dec. 15.

The state has divided noxious weeds into two lists. Weeds on the A list are the most serious, Berg said. The B list includes plants that are regional priorities. A third list specifies those that are top priority. They include a range of plants, from kudzu and goatgrass to Paterson’s curse and hoary alyssum.

Over the next two years, the state will spend more than $2.8 million on eradication and containment. Anyone can apply but typically the grants go to counties, soil and water conservation districts and watershed councils. Past grants have ranged from about $3,500 to $60,000.

“We’ve never put a cap or minimum amount to fund,” Berg said. 

All grants need to have a 25% match for the projected cost of the work 

“In many cases our grants are exceeding that,” Berg said. “Sometimes we’re seeing 170% match because of the in-kind time (contribution) of landowners.”

The grants are rarely used to pay people to yank out weeds by hand. Instead, most projects rely on herbicides. 

The state also has a list of insects that can be used to control plants. They include gorse thrips, whitetop gall mites and Scotch broom seed weevils. They’re not good for immediate eradication because they take time to establish, Berg said. But they’re helpful in controlling noxious weeds once they do.

According to the state, the money is well spent: It says that for every dollar that goes into an early detection and rapid response saves Oregon’s economy $34.

“We’re doing a good job protecting Oregon with limited resources,” Berg said.

CORRECTION: The Curry County invasive weed is called gorse. An earlier version misspelled the name.

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years.