A concerted effort led by Churchill County to eradicate certain types of weeds by the end of the month is gaining traction, said county manager Eleanor Lockwood.
Currently, at least seven government entities are working together to educate the public about nuisance and noxious weeds and how they pose a fire risk. Lockwood said Monday the Churchill County Planning Department will be the county’s central location for people to complain about weeds or to ask for either helping identifying and/or eliminating them.
“Weed problems will be filed through the planning department,” Lockwood said. “The planning director will assess the situation, and if there is a multiple problem with trash, weeds and cars, he will bring it to the attention of the property owner.”
Lockwood, along with other mangers, wants to encourage the public to go through the planning department, which will then direct the concerns to the appropriate agency.
“This will eliminate some confusion,” he said of the one-stop location.
If an imminent fire hazard involving weeds needs immediate help, she said the planning director would contact the fire marshal.
While government agencies will take care of public lands, Lockwood stressed that the individual property owners are responsible for eradicating weeds on their lands.
For example, she said the road department takes care of cutting down weeds if they cover signs or impair a direct line of sight. She said the one weed that causes problems is the kochia, a nuisance weed that grows upward to 7 feet. She said the kochia problem in the subdivisions closest to the city is moving toward the roads.
Lockwood said the Parks and Recreation Department is also responsible for eradicating weeds at the parks and also at the county buildings and other sites.
According to the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, workers keep weeds out of the easements owned by the federal government.
Mitch Young, fire marshal for the Fallon/Churchill Fire Department, worked closely with the city in June to ensure property owners are doing their part.
Every June, he conducts a weed survey and determines which properties need the most attention. Letters are then mailed to the property owners advising them to eradicate the weeds.
“In town we’ve had problems with kochia and puncturevine, both prohibited by city ordinance,” Young added.
Young said if residents have weeds on their property, they should either pull or mow them as early as they can.
Pam Powell, education specialist for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said her agency is available to lend expertise and education for those having problems with weeds. Powell said puncturevine has developed into a major problem for landowners.
“There’s a lack of understanding of what to do at various levels,” she added.
The county, though, has also been proactive. Lockwood said the county’s new website addresses the weed problem and fire hazards. Information is showing how the county is being proactive in mitigating both the weed and fire hazard problems and providing information.
The Mosquito, Vector and Weed Control District has been active in spraying public areas for noxious weeds. District manager Nancy Upham said the problem will become worse in September unless property owners can cut or mow down their weeds.
Upham said district crews have seen invasive weeds on roads, in pastures and ditch banks and in disturbed areas where there has been bulldozing.
The Mosquito, Vector and Weed (Noxious) Control Board receives the majority of its funding for eradicating noxious weeds. Upham said district employees can identify the types of weeds if requested.