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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Notice of Noxious Weeds?
This is the written notification that noxious weeds have been identified on a property.  The Notice includes the type of noxious weeds present, where they are located on the property, control options, a time frame for controlling the infestation, and a contact number for your Field Inspector.

I received a Notice in the mail, how do I know which weeds need to be controlled?
Your Noxious Weed Inspector will usually tag one or two plants on the property with fluorescent survey tape.  The tagged plants are “Example Plants” to help the owner recognize the plant; they are not the only plants on the property.  There may be a few more or a thousand more plants located elsewhere on the property.  If you have trouble identifying or locating the plants on your property, call the number for your Inspector (the number is listed on your notice), or you may contact Noxious Weed Control Center and the Inspector for your area will be glad to meet you at your property to assist you.

What is a Violation Notice?
When a Notice of Noxious weeds along with other contact attempts have failed to result in compliance with the State Noxious Weed Law, a Violation Notice will be sent to the landowner.  This is a legal notice requiring control of the weeds within a specified number of days.  If the owner makes no attempt to contact us, or clean up the noxious weed infestation within that time frame, we will take necessary steps to clean up the property and bill the owner.  Failure to pay the cost of clean-up will result in a Lien against the property.

Why did I receive two copies of the violation notice?
Aside from the fact that this policy is mandated by State Law, it is also our way of ensuring that property owners are properly notified.

If the noxious weeds are in a sensitive area (like a wetland, wetland buffer, etc.) do I need a permit to control it?
Removal by hand of man made litter and control of noxious weeds that are included on the State noxious weed list (WAC 16-750) or invasive plant species as identified by Pierce County is permissible without a special permit.  Control may be conducted by clipping, pulling, over-shading with native tree and shrub species, or non-mechanized digging.

Why is there a line on my property tax statement for noxious weed control?
State Law mandates the funding of county weed boards to educate citizens concerning noxious weeds and to ensure that the noxious weed laws are observed on all lands within the County, both private and public.  In 1980 Pierce County Commissioners approved a levied assessment to fund our county noxious weed control program.  The cost of the program is distributed fairly in this manner because all landowners, including city and state agencies, must contribute.

Why should people who don’t have noxious weeds have to pay the assessment?
Weeds are everybody’s problem. Even if you don’t currently have noxious weeds on your property, you can be harmed by weeds that spread from adjacent lands. Seeds are carried by wind and cars and the invasive nature of these plants means that no land is immune to their spread. Preventing new infestations is a top priority of the Pierce County Noxious Weed Control Program. Everyone benefits when we control and prevent the spread of noxious weeds.

Why should I be concerned about controlling noxious weeds?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the yearly economic impact of invasive species in the US is estimated at $133 billion a year and rising.  That includes agriculture and forest production, land remediation and maintenance, as well as diminished ecosystems.  

  • Non-native invasive weeds across the US cost an estimated $26.4 billion per year in agricultural economic losses alone.
  • Washington State is one of the largest and most successful agriculture enterprises in the world and as such must be protected.
  • Our agricultural industry is Washington’s largest employer and the largest single sector of its economy, so controlling noxious weeds protects jobs and keeps our economy strong.
  • Approximately 420,000 acres of grassland and national forests in the Pacific Northwest are reported to have been degraded by invasive weeds.
  • Noxious weeds are one of the leading contributing causes of species endangerment.