What Are Noxious Weeds?

Noxious (nok´shəs). adj. 1.Harmful or injurious to health or physical well-being.

In the State of Washington, noxious weeds are non-native plants that have been introduced to Washington from other parts of the world. Because of their aggressive growth and lack of natural enemies in the state, these species can be highly destructive, competitive or difficult to control. These exotic species can reduce crop yields, destroy native plant and animal habitat, damage recreational opportunities, clog waterways, lower land values, create erosion problems and fire hazards, and poison humans and livestock.
In Washington State, noxious weed is a legally defined term. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board determines which plants are placed on the Washington State Noxious Weed List (WAC 16-750). These plants are non-native, aggressive and invasive, but with the potential to be eradicated or controlled in the state. For example, dandelion is a non-native, invasive plant. However, it is so widespread, it will never be eradicated or adequately controlled within the state. Therefore, it is not on the noxious weed list.

Annual Weed List Adoption

The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board adopts a State Noxious Weed List each year (WAC 16-750) . The list categorizes weeds into 3 major classes: A, B, and C according to the seriousness of the threat they pose to the state or a region of the state. The Whatcom County Noxious Weed Control Board then holds a public hearing to adopt the county list. The Whatcom County Noxious Weed List is made up of all Class A weeds, Class B-designates, and any selections by the County Board from the Class B or Class C weed list. Any Class A or Class B-designates on the Washington State List are mandatory for adoption and control at the county level.