INVASIVE PLANTs AND noxious WEEDS
Invasive species are those plants and animals that crowd out other species. "Weeds" are commonly explained as being plants growing where they aren't wanted. Sometimes, a species meets both conditions. The Washington Conservation District is interested in control of invasive species because of their potential to affect ecological relationships and ecosystem function, economic value of ecosystems, and human health.
The State of Minnesota has 11 plants named as Noxious Weeds. Some, like poison ivy, are health hazards to humans. Others, such as purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, and thistles threaten both natural and agricultural environmental stability. Under State Statute and regulated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, these plants must be controlled or eradicated by landowners. Other invasive plants, such as common and glossy buckthorn, are controlled through restrictions on the propagation and sale of these plants. Responsibility for enforcing the regulations falls on local municipalities, and is often addressed on a local level through nuisance ordinances.
Invasive animals and some plants that extend beyond individual properties, such Eurasian water milfoil, zebra mussels, and gypsy moths are still prohibited through Statute but managed through other means including education and incentives. It is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research, or education.
The links listed below will also direct you to information about invasive species and weeds. The WCD can help with identification of an unknown plant - email us a photo or drop off a sample at our office. As financial assistance grants become available, we may be able to provide additional assistance. We also have a "weed wrench" available to county residents to uproot buckthorn or other woody plants. Contact us at 651-275-1136 to check on its availability.
Grecian Foxglove Grecian foxglove was recently added to Minnesota's noxious weed list and its range in Washington County is expanding. This flower is toxic - if you find it on your property do not touch it!
Palmer Amaranth has recently been discovered in Minnesota and added to the noxious weeds list. This plant is an aggressive weed that can put corn and soybean crops at risk.