Melinda McWilliams: There’s nothing trivial about noxious weeds |

Melinda McWilliams: There’s nothing trivial about noxious weeds

To The Editor:

Sarah Hill’s attempt to trivialize the harmful impacts of noxious weeds (Sept. 8 letter) epitomizes how many people misunderstand this serious issue.

It’s disturbing that she finds this threat to Colorado’s biological wealth laughable. She surmises that “noxious” weeds are irrelevant because her research did not find any that are “public health menaces” based on a dictionary definition. The Colorado Noxious Weed Act defines a noxious weed to mean an alien plant (not indigenous to Colorado) that has been designated by rule as being noxious and meets one or more of these criteria:” (a) aggressively invades or is detrimental to economic crops or native plant communities; (b) is poisonous to livestock; (c) is a carrier of detrimental insects, diseases, or parasites; (d) the direct or indirect effect of the presence of this plant is detrimental to the environmentally sound management of natural or agricultural ecosystems.”

This law was enacted in recognition that “certain undesirable plants constitute a present threat to the continued economic and environmental value of the lands of the state and if present in any area of the state must be managed.” So the objective is environmental health. This law also emphasizes integrated management – biological, chemical, cultural and mechanical methods – for controlling, suppressing or eliminating noxious weeds.

The intent is to seek the methods which are least environmentally damaging, practical and economically reasonable. What is laughable are Hill’s conclusions that the noxious weed management program is about “corporate-science jargon,” “real estate sales and direct website links to herbicides” to “make a buck” with “tax-funded poisons.” The only valid point in her opinion piece is that vinegar can be an effective herbicide.

Melinda McWilliams


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