HB 94: Helping control noxious weeds — 2023
ICL's position: Support
Current Bill Status: Law
Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Invasive species, Public Lands, State Issues
Rep. Doug Pickett (R-Oakley) introduced House Bill 94, which increases authority for Idaho counties to control of noxious weeds, if landowners have not responded to notices. HB 94 would help counties to be more proactive in their efforts to eradicate these noxious weeds and benefit our lands and wildlife from the threat of noxious weeds.
Managing noxious weeds is critical for Idaho, because of the damage these non-native invasive species can cause. They also amplify some of the effects of climate change, reducing water availability and contributing to increased fire risk. They dry out sooner than many native grasses and shrubs and can outcompete these same Idaho species, creating continuous fuel beds that can carry fire. They can also increase the occurrence of fire, preventing native species from reestablishing, creating feedback loops that spread the weeds even further.
Common examples of noxious weeds in Idaho include Leafy Spurge, Star Thistle, Knapweed, and Medusahead.
These aggressive non-native weeds can spread into vital habitats where some of Idaho’s sensitive and threatened species reside, including sage grouse.
It’s important to note that cheatgrass, one of the nastiest, most widespread, and damaging non-native grasses is not considered a noxious weed by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture because for a couple days in the spring, it can be palatable to cows.