A weed can be any native or non-native plant that is unwanted in a particular area at a particular time. When specific weeds become so wide-spread that they threaten crops, livestock, or native species, they are referred to as noxious weeds. Besides the term "noxious weed" other descriptions for these weed are "invasive species", "exotic species", "alien species", or some similar term.
In general, noxious weeds are non-native plants that are highly invasive and ecologically destructive. The State and individual counties classify noxious weeds as a method of prioritizing their control and publish lists by classification (Class A through C). Class A weeds are given the highest priority for control (mandatory control required by State law). Biodiversity and ecosystem function and health are threatened by noxious weeds. A common characteristic of all noxious weeds is their aggressive, competitive behavior. Typically, they take moisture, nutrients, and sunlight from surrounding native or desired plants. Noxious weeds alter soil properties and the composition of plant and animal communities. Native animals evolved with native plant communities, and many cannot readily adapt to rapid changes in these plant communities caused by noxious weeds infestations. → Learn more, Washington State Noxious Weed List
Spartina anglica on the Swinomish Reservation
The primary focus of noxious weed control on the Swinomish Reservation since 1996 has been control of Spartina anglica, a Washington State Class A noxious weed. This non-native marine cord grass often out-competes native vegetation in existing salt marshes and colonizes many previously un-vegetated mudflats. Unlike native plants, Spartina anglica provides little forage benefit for our fish and wildlife, and additionally tends to rapidly accumulate sediment. In 2008, in coordination with Skagit County and the State of Washington, the Tribe began controlling Spartina anglica in most areas with a safe, effective aquatic herbicide. As of the end of the 2010 treatment season, the total amount of Spartina anglica on the Reservation was down by more than 90% from the 2008 levels. We believe we have turned the corner on this destructive invasive and are well on the way to its effective eradication on the Reservation. → Learn more
Spartina anglica invading a mudflat
Other Noxious Weeds on the Swinomish Reservation
Within the last decade, theTribe purchased and brought into tribal trust more than a thousand acres of uplands and freshwater wetlands. This acquisition brought with it a large noxious weed control responsibility. In 2009 and 2010 the Environmental Management Coordinator expanded the Tribe's program to address other problem weeds on the Reservation. These weeds include common regional invasives like Canada thistle, Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom, as well as less well known weeds in this area such as Dalmatian toadflax and knapweeds, which have invaded seasonally dry dredge spoil areas. An environmental specialist coordinates the Tribe's program, assisted by a weed control technician. Both of these individuals are licensed by the State of Washington as herbicide applicators with the appropriate endorsements. → Learn more
Scotch broom (McGlinn Island)