Clearwater County Agricultural Services vision mandates the protection of Agricultural Resources. Invasive Plants pose a serious risk to agricultural production and the environment. World wide the biggest threat to bio diversity, next to soil erosion, is invasive plants, making weed control very important to ensure we preserve agricultural lands and the environment. Click here for a listing of weeds of concern in Clearwater County.
Agricultural Services provides producers and landowners of Clearwater County a Weed Extension program to help protect land from degradation and loss of production due to the spread and establishment of invasive plants. The weed extension program’s main focus is education and awareness to engage and empower producers and landowners to take ownership of their specific weed problem and to foster internal motivation in implementing a yearly weed control plan. The primary goal is to ensure individual weed infestations do not impact neighbouring properties. Weed extension coordinators work directly with producers and landowners to create and implement short and long term weed control plans, as well as protecting themselves from future establishing invasive plants.
Agricultural Services garners a high percentage of voluntary compliance through our Weed Extension Program focusing on education and awareness. In cases where voluntary compliance can not be reached Agricultural Services is obligated to harness the continued spread of invasive plants under the authority of the Provincial Weed Control Act. The Agricultural Service Board approves staff to issue notices; these notices outline the weed control expectations as well as the time frame to carry it out in. Should this notice expire and no acceptable level of control achieved, access to the land is granted by the notice and expenses incurred will be added to the landowner's taxes. This compliance tool is utilized as a last resort when all extension avenues have been exhausted.
Though there are a few, most notably Tall Buttercup and Wild Caraway, invasive plants that are well established within Clearwater County, there are many extremely threatening species not found in Clearwater County that are found in neighboring municipalities or throughout Alberta. Clearwater County has implemented an Eradicable Weeds Category. Staff monitors and recommends an annual eradicable weed species to the Agricultural Service board that set the eradicable weeds list and mandate staff to locate, control, document and monitor these species and locations at no cost to the landowner. This eradicable weeds list was implemented as an early detection rapid response procedure to ensure that no further invasive plants become established within Clearwater County. The eradicable weeds list can be found in the Agricultural Services policy handbook, or by contacting Agricultural Services.
The Agricultural Services board and staff are always looking for new ways to better implement our Weed Extension programs while focusing on education, awareness, and community buy in of weed control. During the spring of 2010, Agricultural Services piloted a new weed control concept called the Priority Area Weed Compliance system or P.A.W.C. This concept established an area where the community had stated that they wanted to see a consistent and effective approach to controlling a particular weed species. The community drives this process with Agricultural Services administering the program within the P.A.W.C area. Should individual landowners not comply with the communities desire for consist weed control, Agricultural Services will access the land and complete the weed control to the standard established by the community, recouping the control cost. This community based approach to weed control has proven very effective within other jurisdictions.
Be sure to check out the weed species information available on this website, and contact Agricultural Services to discuss weed control and prevention on your property.
Eradicable Weeds Program
The program is intended to foster voluntary reporting of new and emerging weeds or those present in Clearwater County in very small infestations to facilitate eradication and prevent the spread beyond this achievement.
- The Board will establish a list of species for the Eradicable Weeds Program each spring.
- Staff will record weed site information data in the Weed Data Base with particular attention to size, age and growth stage of infestation.
- Staff will inspect all sites on record annually and design an effective eradication program.
- Staff will present an Annual Report on this program which will guide the Board in establishing the list of species included in the program.
- Clearwater County will absorb all costs associated with the eradication.
Community Weed Control
Clearwater County has three separate and distinct Community Weed Control (CWC) areas. County Council has been highly supportive of communities that are interested in working together as a group to deal with invasive species.
With the inclusion of a new community driven approach to weed control in the Everdell area, along with the Ricinis community (added in 2012), the total area involved in community projects has increased from the original 20,480 acres to 46,080 acres.
The First Priority Area Weed Compliance project (PAWC), initiated in the Arbutus/Alhambra area has now successfully completed its seventh year while the Ricinus CWC area has completed its fourth year.
Objectives of Community Weed Control Areas
All of the areas operate differently and are administered with input from the communities based on locally determined standards and expectations. The overriding objectives for all community groups remain the same:
- Marked increase of cooperation with neighbors
- More landowners are working towards eradication
- Increased ownership of weeds
- Community to work closely with Ag Services staff
Range and Pasture Spraying Program
To meet the unique needs of landowners within Clearwater County the Agricultural Service Board provides custom herbicide application to control noxious weeds on range and pasture land. Because invasive plants like Tall Buttercup and Wild Caraway thrive in rough, low and difficult terrain the Agricultural Services department has built specialized equipment to tackle these difficult jobs.
Whether hummocks, low land, rough terrain or hills on farms or acreages, our specialized equipment and trained applicators will effectively control noxious weeds invading your pastures and rangeland. Our rates are $85 per hour (herbicide not included), averaging 7-13 acres per hour, depending on terrain. Our pull type or 3pt hitch, tractor driven, G.P.S guided boom-less sprayers are tailored and custom made for Clearwater County.
Clearwater County also retails a wide selection of the most effective range and pasture herbicides on the market. One of our Weed Extension Coordinators can work with you to select the best herbicide for your situation. We also rent large, medium and small, sprayers that allow landowners to easily and effectively apply herbicide to their own land. If you are interested in seeing our equipment and the effectiveness of range and pasture herbicides, want to save money on range and pasture herbicides and the application then watch for our weed workshops each Spring. All landowners in Clearwater County who choose to participate in this workshop will receive 10% off all range and pasture herbicides and custom application. If you have questions about weeds, want to rent weed control equipment, purchase a range and pasture herbicide or are interested in range and pasture spraying, please contact our Weed Extension Staff at 403-845-4444.