Saturday, June 12, 2021

Law protecting land from noxious weeds takes effect in July

by Staff report
| June 10, 2021 1:00 AM

Legislation recently passed to protect state lands from toxic and noxious weeds, and takes effect in late July, according to a release from the Washington State House Republicans.

House Bill 1355, sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, was signed into law in May by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill is meant to “change the composition and priorities of the state” and county weed control boards and makes changes to other state noxious weed laws.

“Our weed boards and districts are instrumental in protecting our state’s agricultural lands, natural resources, salmon habitat and other important pieces of land from noxious weed degradation,” said Dent, in a release. “It also is critical to protect our livestock. Some of these plants can retain their toxic properties, even when they are dried, and can be devastating if they get in a farmer’s crop or hay. Washington is the most trade dependent state in the nation. We must protect our ag producers’ ability to market their products overseas. Keeping these products noxious-weed free is vital in that effort.”

The legislation will make changes to the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board composition and office terms; make changes to county noxious weed control board provisions; require the State Noxious Weed Control Board to have a stakeholder process to make a system for Department of Transportation-owned parcels to be identified and billed for special benefits received from county noxious weed control boards; require forestland owners to control and prevent the spread of Class C noxious weeds within certain distances of adjacent lands, roads, navigable rivers, and certain other areas; and add weed boards and weed districts to the class of assessing districts that may levy assessments to state lands.

HB 1355 passed the House and Senate unanimously.

“This legislation will allow counties to more effectively carry out the protection of our natural resources with local control and oversight,” said Dent in a release.