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County takes offensive in fight against weeds

Kitsap County is taking aggressive action against noxious weeds, hiring a program coordinator and establishing revised set of rules and regulations.

“Controlling noxious weeds is part of our environmental stewardship,” said weed control coordinator Dana Coggon. “These plants can be detrimental to our health and our economy.”

Coggon said that many noxious weeds begin as imported ornamental plants that function differently in the local climate and defeat the normal ecological controls. The most noxious of all weeds is the Giant Hogweed. Not only does it take over the garden, but burns can occur when its sap gets on skin that is consequently exposed to sunlight.

Coggan said much of her effort centers around prevention. To this end, gardeners need to carefully vet each plant they add to their environment and make sure it does not seed around the immediate area.

In theory, all plants sold at local nurseries should be safe, she said.

In order to determine whether noxious weeds are in the yard, people should log on to http://kitsap.wsu.edu and follow the noxious weed links. Pictures and strategies are outlined on the page.

Those unsure about whether a specific weed is noxious should call Coggan, (360) 307-3434, who will determine the toxicity of a weed through an onsite visit by herself or a staff member.

Coggan said the Kitsap Noxious Weed program is a response to complaints by neighboring counties about traveling seeds. She said the complaints have lessened significantly this year.

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