A state agency is accepting applications to provide Utahns with a million dollars to help control or eliminate the growth of noxious weeds that are fuel for wildfires.
The program is making the money available to support projects as part of the Invasive Species Mitigation Weed Control Grant for the 2013-2014 season.
The $1 million in grants are intended to fund rehabilitation projects in areas affected by invasive species.
"Nonnative weeds are similar to a slow-burning biological wildfire that is spreading out of control through areas of Utah," said Robert Hougaard of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Organizations that are encouraged to apply include Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA); county weed boards; federal, state, tribal, private landowners; conservation districts; and political subdivisions.
The grant application deadline is March 1. Funding will begin July 1, and terminate June 30, 2014. Grant information and guidelines are available at http://www.ag.utah.gov under the "Grants" heading.
Invasive weeds were partially responsible for fueling wildfires in Utah last year that destroyed several homes, consumed more than 400,000 acres of timber and rangeland, claimed the lives of three people, and cost $50 million to fight.
Weeds compete with crops and residential landscaping, and as a result reduce the quality of food, feed and fiber throughout Utah and the United States. In the agricultural sector, crop losses and control costs are estimated at more than $15 billion annually.