Letter to the Editor: Leafy spurge rearing its ugly head


Dear Editor:
This is the time of year that our world blooms in Rio Blanco County. However one yellow head is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”: the yellow leafy spurge—and it affects land from Trappers Lake to Kenney Reservoir.
Landowners and especially ranchers should be on guard. This exotic invasive yellow flower can spit its seeds out 15 feet and has roots 29 feet deep. It can survive drought and flooding and takes over productive hayfields and riparian areas. Before you know it your fields are covered over with a poisonous carpet of hay field suppressing weeds. Poisonous to cattle and wildlife—it’s one resident you really don’t want.
The good news is help is available: Jane Turnburke, director of Rio Blanco County Weed and Pest Department, says a 50% match is available for chemicals to eliminate this pest (up to $500 each landowner, first come first serve, funds are limited).
Her office is open for pick up and sales on Thursday from 7 a.m. to noon in Meeker and her phone number is 970-878-9670.
Right now is the best time to treat it.
Don’t delay, let’s get rid of this western menace to our hayfields and lands by taking action before it goes to seed, which is usually the end of July. The White River Alliance is committed to a healthy river basin ecosystem for ranchers, hunters, and all residents and leafy spurge is a threat we can control—if we all work together.

Shawn Welder
President, White River Alliance