Only 22 Oregon counties have weed control programs
By LEE FARREN
For the Capital Press
Much of the funding for weed control projects in Oregon comes from grants awarded by the Oregon State Weed Board.
Established in 1985 by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the OSWB develops the state noxious weed list and awards grants to cooperating groups and agencies. Its $2.3 million per biennium comes from lottery dollars.
Though some money is also available through other agencies, the OSWB is the primary source of funding for weed control in Oregon, according to Tim Butler, manager of the ODA noxious weed program.
Grants are made to a variety of groups, including county weed departments and private conservation organizations like the Nature Conservancy and Friends of Forest Park in Portland.
Of Oregon's 36 counties, only 22 have active county weed control programs. Don Farrar, weed supervisor for Gilliam County and chair of the 4-year-old Oregon County Weed Control Association, hopes to improve those numbers.
"We'd really like to be talking to new counties just starting up, that need that little nudge about funding, but we haven't gotten there yet," Farrar said.
The nudge may come in the form of Senate Bill 629, currently in the Natural Resources Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee of the Oregon Legislature.
Farrar wrote the bill, which sets up a mechanism to distribute weed control funds. Though no money is currently attached to the bill, the system could be used to funnel federal stimulus money or other future dollars to county weed programs.
"Writing legislation was never my goal," Farrar said. "I just wanted to be the weed guy in Gilliam County and have it get no worse than when I started."
Freelance writer Lee Farren is based in Ukiah, Ore. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.