skip to main content

County Offices

Washoe County Programs

Invasive Species (Weeds)

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.

Issue:

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Noxious weeds have already invaded thousands of acres of Nevada’s lands and waterways and threaten water quality, wildlife habitat, recreational activities and the economic stability of ranchers, farmers and other land managers.

What Has Been Done:

Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds. There are numerous activities every spring in which weed volunteers pull and/or spray hundreds of acres of noxious weeds. These volunteers:

  • Educate their neighbors and other local residents about the threat of noxious weeds by making presentations, staffing booths, writing media articles and giving tours.
  • Identify weeds and map infestations. They develop databases and monitor the infested areas.
  • Control and eradicate weeds by conducting weed pulls and applying herbicides to large infestations.

There are more than 30 Nevada coordinated weed associations and other groups, according to the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Weed Coordinator. UNCE plays an active role in many of these groups, serving as catalysts, educators and grant consultants. The goal is to achieve long-term sustainability of the weed control efforts.

Various weed control methods are also being tested by Cooperative Extension working with local individuals and groups. For example, weed control by ruminants.

Impacts:

The Tahoe Weed Coordinating Group - consists of landowners and managers, regulatory agencies and residents working together to share information and resources to achieve effective weed control in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Cooperative Extension is key to their efforts. As a result of efforts of this group, we measured a 57% decrease in total weed infestations from 2004 to 2006 in El Dorado and Placer Counties, and a 28% decrease on USFS properties in the basin. We also measured a 41% decrease in sites infested with five priority weeds in Incline Village.

The Truckee Meadows Weed Group- provides a variety of educational programs to elementary schools on weeds. Teachers at 19 elementary schools (29.7% of all Truckee Meadows elementary schools) requested one or more presentations. In a post-class test, 63% of students in grades 3-5 could name 2 or more ways that weed seeds spread, and 69% could correctly identify three or more of the five priority weeds. Their outreach campaign this past year was successful in increasing weed reporting via the hotline and Web site. After the Aug. 7 full-page ad, hits on the website jumped from about 90 per day to about 180 per day, and remained elevated. The website was accessed 7,344 times in 2006. Also in 2006, $30,000 from the Carson- Truckee Water Conservancy was used to treat headwaters drainages along the Truckee River. Washoe County Roads treated 1745.3 acres of various weeds along roads, and City of Reno road and ditch maintenance personnel treated 101.4 acres of weeds. Sparks treated 1,234 acres of parks, medians, roadsides, ditches, alleys, schools, etc. with chemical controls in 2006. NDOT spent 290 man-hours controlling weeds with herbicides on approximately 160 acres in wetland mitigation basins and along Interstates 80 and 395. USFS treated 100 acres. Weeds on 2702 total acres were controlled. Finally, volunteers met at several locations to mechanically remove a variety of weed species from local parks and trails. For example: Oxbow Park: April 29 (5 bags of thistles removed by a few volunteers), Mayberry Park: May 6 (27 bags of thistles removed by 10 volunteers); Dorostkar Park: May 6 (90 bags of thistles, hoary cress, perennial pepperweed removed by 2 community service crews led by a Extension trained Weed Warrior).

Weed Control By Ruminants-As a result of this program, 4,000 goats and 2,000 sheep were purchased by five individuals and are now grazing weeds on a contract basis in Eastern Nevada. These five new successful businesses are in their first year of operation thanks in large part to information learned from this program and Extension’s assistance. Over fifty interested parties participated in a two-day educational workshop. Participation ranged from interested grazers, agency personnel and the publisher of Western Farmer Stockman Magazine. Participants were from five western states. On a scale of 1 to 5 with one being poor and five being excellent the 50 participants rated the overall educational program at 4.8. A 4.9 was given to the instructors’ ability to teach and their knowledge of the subject. Comments from several participants included that they will put the information to work immediately. Gallagher Fencing representative stated that fence sales at local stores rose by over $30,000 following this program and the electric fence demonstration. The Western Farmer Stockman editor in attendance used information learned in his feature story which went out to thousands of readers. Two participants hired two of the five new businesses to control weeds on their Elko County properties.

Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

Grow Your Own, Nevada is a statewide University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program designed to help people discover the secrets to gardening in our high-desert climate. The program includes eight two-hour weekly sessions. Classes are held live in Reno in the spring, summer and fall, and are provided by video conference to Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

Grow Yourself Healthy

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management