Cooperative Weed Management Area resurrected to fight noxious weeds

Noxious weeds are more than just a headache for homeowners. Left unchecked, the invaders contaminate crops and threaten farm livelihoods including some of those in the Lovelock Valley.

Knapweed contamination recently caused some shipments of local hay to be rejected at the California border, Sean Gephart of the Nevada Department of Agriculture said during a recent meeting of the Lovelock Valley Weed District. Other noxious weeds of concern for local farmers include yellow star thistle and medusahead. To help tackle the threat, Gephart urged concerned groups and citizens to reactivate the Pershing County Cooperative Weed Management Area.

Last week, farmers, weed district, county road and other officials agreed that it was time to resurrect the group. On Tuesday, October 29, 6:30 p.m. (location to be determined), a PCCWMA Board of Directors will be elected by members which “shall be open to all individuals, organizations, interest groups, corporations, businesses and government agencies with jurisdiction or interest within the PCCWMA boundary” according to proposed by-laws.

Once established according to state requirements, the non-profit will be eligible for state grants and donations with the funds distributed to other groups involved in the fight against weeds. 

During debate about the jurisdiction of groups concerned about noxious weeds such as the Lovelock Valley Weed District and the Pershing County Conservation District, Karen Wesner pointed out that the county’s weed problem goes beyond the Lovelock Valley’s irrigated land.

“You’re focusing on knapweed. We’ve got a greater problem out in the valley and in the county,” she said. “There’s puncture vine and a lot of different weeds. A cooperative weed management board would get grant money to try to eradicate all of the noxious weeds, not just knapweed.”

A proposed mission statement, by-laws and articles of incorporation for the group were presented by Melany Aten of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The incorporation procedure is now required for the PCCWMA to receive state grants, she said.

“It’s a little chicken and egg, the way that it works.,” Aten said. “At the first meeting, everybody looks at by-laws and articles and then they vote on a board. Then we submit all that to the secretary of state...It gives you that leverage and capability to work with more partners. It’s not functioning right now in a capacity that can apply for grants, which is what people are asking for, and it doesn’t have the ability to leverage. We’re trying to fix all that.”

As for who can be a member, Aten said it could be “pretty much anyone that shows up.”

“For the Washoe/Storey CWMA, we have a really big collaborative group,” she said. “All those people were put into an email roster. Each year the roster’s updated and members get notices.”