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Controlling Invasive and Noxious Weeds Through a Weed Management Area

The Issue

Invasive and noxious weeds do not respect property lines or jurisdictions. To help prevent their introduction and spread, a public-private partnership that combines resources and expertise is required. These invasive plants are often detrimental or destructive to agriculture. They also degrade wildlife habitat and impair plant biodiversity.

What Has ANR Done?

In San Benito County, UCCE Farm Advisor Sergio Garcia and the local Agricultural Commissioner's office jointly took the lead in creating a Weed Management Area, concentrating on:
--Organizing public and private landowners.
--Inventorying the existing invasive and noxious weeds.
--Organizing educational programs.
--Controlling weeds.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements were developed among 10 local agencies. To survey the existing weed situation, participants inspected 2,000 miles of county roads and rights-of-way. Weed types, density and populations were recorded, using a GPS (geographical positioning system) unit. This information was converted to detailed maps which were then used to help determine control activity.

Our weed control work has been focused primarily on yellow star thistle, purple star thistle, artichoke thistle, and scotch thistle. We have organized property owners to spray over 3,000 acres in heavily infested areas, following the UCCE recommendations for rates and spray timing. In addition, 350 miles of county road right-of-way adjacent to rangelands have been sprayed to control yellow star thistle. Twenty biological control sites have been identified and natural predators released. A weed identification book describing the top 20 invasive and noxious weeds in San Benito County was produced and distributed to land owners.

Each spring, UC weed, livestock, range and wildlife specialists have presented their latest weed control research. UCCE specialists Joe DiTomaso, Bill Tietje, Richard Standiford, John Maas, Maggie Kelly and Terry Salmon have appeared at these educational programs.

We also developed a web site to both inform and receive input from the public on the work of the Weed Management Area group.

The Payoff

Weed prevention and control enhanced in San Benito County

Our implementation plan, based on UC research, clearly has helped prevent the further spread of invasive and noxious weeds in San Benito County. This cooperative program has also increased local awareness of invasive weed prevention, detection, control, biology, identification, economics and environmental impacts. In addition, our efforts continue to help landowners improve their management techniques for control of those weeds.


Supporting Unit: San Benito County

Sergio L. Garcia, UCCE Farm Advisor, P.O. Box 1956, Hollister, CA 95024-1956
(831) 637-5346 sgarcia@ucdavis.edu