By Michael Heins
Noxious weeds are a threat to farms and ranches throughout Montana and the Northwest.
The Hill County Weed Board met to consider the problem of noxious weeds in the Hill county area and solutions for the reduction of weeds in our area.
Present at the meeting were Commissioner Kathy Bessette, Chairman Neil McCormick, Weed Board members Craig Patrick, Gary Gregoire, and Terry Turner, supervisor.
Members of the board spoke on a variety of weed related topics such as the Sage Creek project, the Noxious Weed Trust Fund, and legislators' lift last month on the trust fund's cap of $2.5 million to $10 million.
"It will take longer to raise the $10 million in the trust fund than the $2.5 million," said Turner, supervisor of the Hill County weed board.
The board members went on to cover the correspondence for the meeting, which included:
The introduction of the new Weed Board member Bob Siebrasse.
The Sexual Harassment Seminar for Hill County employees The seminar was designed help the county deal with the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace and how to deal with it when someone raises a complaint about sexual harassment.
The Spring Supervisor and Aquatic Training Seminar A motion was approved for supervisor travel to the aquatic weed seminar.
The dates for the Spring supervisor training will be March 27 and 28 in Bozeman at the Best Western City Center.
On March 27, the Western Aquatic Plant Management Association will meet at the Grand Tree Inn in Bozeman.
This will be the only state approved recertification for aquatic license in the next two years.
The Governor's Conference on Agriculture The conference is scheduled for March 22. The meeting is designed to help Montana farmers face the continual challenges as well as the opportunities that they face in the new century.
The Sage Creek Grant A hearing was held last Feb. 1 in Great Falls.
Funding for the Sage Creek Grant was approved.
"The Sage Creek project is taking longer than we expected," Turner said.
Some of the other topics the board talked about were:
The report on annual meeting The has last 2 sessions focused on biological and chemical and control of noxious weeds.
"We need to do something different, for the next annual meeting, like a hands on work shop and evaluations of the past trust fund project," Turner said.
The Burdock Project A motion was passed to contribute $100 to the this project. These funds are to be used to dig up this noxious weed with volunteers. The project has been a huge success in educating students and parents on weeds.
The summer tour of noxious weed areas - This tour is tentatively scheduled for the third week in July. The board is considering tours of the Sage Brush Creek area as well as touring areas infected with club moss.
The board talked about starting a self-guided tours with a brochure for guiding people around these weed infested regions. This is designed for people who won't be able to make it to the scheduled tour, they still have to find landowners who will be willing to allow these tours on their land.
The Chemical Shed Completion - $3,700 for a loading dock for the chemical shed.
The board also brought up the problem of noxious weed being sold by local retailers as wildflowers and the problem of an unnamed company bringing in wildflower seeds into Montana from Canada.
"We don't have tough enough standards to stop the shipments coming in from Canada," Turner said.
The Department of Agriculture is currently investigating this issue.
"Most retailers have been cooperating, but retailers should double check the noxious weed list and check with their suppliers," Turner said.
There are five new weeds on the noxious weed list, Turner said.
These are: common tansy, ox-eye daisy, hounds tongue, tall buttercup and tamarisk. Tamarisk is a threat because it uses up available water and often dries up streams.
For information on how to deal with a weed problem call 265-5481.