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Community essential to weed control

Posted 4/13/2011

See a weed? Call Cooperative Extension

If you see an invasive weed, Margie Evans would appreciate a phone call. The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension coordinator for the Carson City Weed Coalition is looking to involve the community in her effort to stem the rising population of lesser-known noxious weeds.

“Yellow starthistle, medusahead, spotted knapweed — those are some weeds that we don’t have a lot of in the area,” Evans said. “I’m hoping that if people can see there are weeds they may not see in other places, then they will call me so we can remove the weed before it spreads. We don’t want people pulling weeds themselves because they might spread the seeds and make things worse.”

Raising awareness about lesser-known weeds will be one aspect of UNCE and the Carson City Weed Coalition’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, which begins April 25 and ends May 1.

The call-before-you-pull approach is a healthy bet for Nevada trails, parks, riversides and wild lands — since some noxious weeds can look a lot like native shrubs, and others propagate if not handled correctly.

Evans’ targeting of lesser-known weeds is all part of a plan to stem their rise before they get out of control.

“This is part of the program of Early Detection and Rapid Response, or EDRR,” Evans said. “I’m highlighting these less prevalent weeds in hopes that people see them and contact me, so when they return to that place, the weed won’t be there.

“That’s what I really want. For people to see this and go, ‘oh I see that weed. I’m going to give Cooperative Extension a call.’ ”

As part of the program, Evans started training Carson High School and Empire Elementary School students at the Ambrose Carson River Natural Area in April. Al Seeliger Elementary School students will also receive training on invasive weeds and how to identify and report them.

“We’ll look for yellow starthistle and medusahead and learn about how to keep those weeds from spreading when they do see them,” Evans said.

By encouraging Nevadans to keep an eye out for some of these weeds, Evans hopes to avoid mishaps like hitchhiking puncturevine seeds on the clothes or boots of Nevada hikers.

Other facets of Evans’ plan include an interpretive weed display at the Carson City Library during the month of May and some additional community events during the summer, which are to be announced.

People interested in helping Evans can pick up a weed identification booklet at their local Cooperative Extension office. They can also contact her with questions, or to notify her about a possible weed infestation, at (775) 887-2252 or by email at evansm@unce.unr.edu.

Last year, Evans, UNCE staff, Carson Water Subconservancy District, crew from the American Reinvestment and Recovery act, and local volunteers treated over 100 acres of land in Carson City area public areas and river drainages where these weeds are prevalent — treating more acres than any previous year.

Evans encourages any potential volunteers to call her up and help her control Nevada’s noxious weeds.

“We encourage volunteers to come out, get an idea of what to look for, and help,” Evans said. “These undesirable plants will take over native habitat. Our native animals and plants simply can’t survive with these exotics.”

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