Dyer's woad (copy)

Weber County Commissioners took the first step on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, toward creation of a special board giving them more authority to deal with dyer's woad, a noxious weed that is particularly problematic in the Ogden Valley. The yellow plant is pictured here near Huntsville on June 14, 2019.

OGDEN — Plans to form a special body with increased authority to deal with dyer’s woad and other noxious weeds across Weber County are finally coming together.

Weber County commissioners on Tuesday took the first formal step toward creating the Weber County Weed Control Board, approving the first reading of an ordinance forming the body. The second reading is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 10, while naming of the five board members, presuming no hiccups, would follow.

“If we’re going to protect what we value here in Weber County, which is our land, open space especially, it’s critical that we keep that as weed-free as possible,” said Commissioner Gage Froerer, who pushed for the proposal. The volunteer weed control board would have authority to order removal of noxious weeds from private land in unincorporated Weber County if the owners don’t and, in turn, charge them for the work.

In a noxious weed issue is discovered “this board can give (property owners) notice to clean it up, and if they don’t, they can be cited and fined,” said Sean Wilkinson, head of the Weber County Community and Economic Development Department. As is, the county can ask landowners in unincorporated corners of the county to get rid of weeds on their land, but it has no enforcement mechanism.

Dyer’s woad, a non-native yellow weed that grows in abundance in the Ogden Valley, is one of the biggest weed problems in Weber County. Froerer and other residents in the zone have long campaigned to get rid of it, gathering each spring for the past several years to pull the weed where they find it.

Locals have made good progress, but “we’re never going to be 100% there. It’s just not going to happen,” Froerer said. The weed control board, though, at least creates a new mechanism to potentially keep the weeds from getting too out of control.

Other problematic weeds locally include phragmites, which grow in marshy areas and are more an issue in western Weber County, and starthistle.

Most property owners are cognizant of the importance of clearing weeds like dyer’s woad from their land to stymie its spread, Froerer said. But others aren’t, and creation of the weed board is “probably the only way that we are going to get some of these people’s attention.”

The new five-member board would work with Taylor Christensen, supervisor of the one-man Weber County Weed Department. Two of the five board members would have to be farmers or ranchers and all would come from Weber County, per the ordinance proposal.

“If we want to prevent these weeds from being everywhere in the county, we have to do this kind of stuff,” said Commissioner Scott Jenkins.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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