Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Amber Mendenhall, an insect expert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explains how a weevil larvae has killed a a Squarrose Knapweed below the surface of the ground. It is one of the biological controls used to fight the weed. A group of landowners and members of state and federal government agencies toured an area on the Juab-Tooele county line where the invasive weed has gained a foothold.
Utah counties seek state funds to help eradicate noxious weeds
First Published Jun 14 2012 05:40 pm • Last Updated Sep 11 2012 11:35 pm

Eureka • Jerry Caldwell stands up to his ankles in light-brown weeds, an agricultural scourge that has spread to all corners of Tooele County and beyond.

Squarrose knapweed, a plant native to the eastern Mediterranean area, first appeared in Utah in 1954 and since has invaded nearly 200,000 acres. Each plant lives six years and harbors 3,000 viable seeds, causing several counties in Utah a major headache, Caldwell said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Weeds such as these choke out native plants, use too much water, can harm livestock and pose a fire risk.

"That’s why this is an ongoing problem," Caldwell said.

Caldwell, the Tooele County weed supervisor, has joined nearby counties in requesting $119,000 from a $1 million fund the 2012 Legislature created to help fight noxious weeds.

SB61, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, led to creation of the fund, which the Utah Department of Agriculture administers. If Tooele, Juab and Utah counties receive the grant, it will enable them to eradicate 1,200 acres of noxious weeds.

The bill amended earlier legislation to control weeds passed after the 2007 Milford Flat fire burned nearly 300,000 acres of dry cheatgrass in Millard County, said Kyle Stephens, deputy agriculture commissioner. His department received 60 project proposals totaling $2.2 million for the grant period that begins July 1.

Once grants are awarded, Stephens said the money "can go a long way in controlling noxious weeds and invasive species that are less desirable."

The grant request from Tooele, Juab and Utah counties proposes to use herbicides, weed-eating insects and grass seeds to battle the weeds long-term. Amber Mendenhall, a U.S. Department of Agriculture biocontrol technician, said the money will help create a fund for herbicide as well as seed-eating and root-eating insects that are already in place.

"When you get some root feeders, some seed feeders and some spray guys out here all together, you get a really good effect on controlling your knapweed," she said.

story continues below
story continues below

Caldwell said controlling the weeds will be a community effort involving private landowners and government agencies that also have access to some federal weed control funds.

"It’s not any one tool that’s going to get rid of it, it’s going to be a combination of all [of them]," Caldwell said.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.