July 12, 2017
Noxious and Invasive Weeds in Alta

Amongst the hundreds of species of vibrant wildflowers currently bursting to life in Alta are a growing assortment of problematic, non-native species, which threaten to overcrowd and outcompete native varieties, with cascading effects on the long-term ecological health of our cherished natural landscapes. Such plant species are commonly referred to either as “noxious” or “invasive” weeds, although these terms are technically distinct:

Noxious weeds are “legally, any plant designated by a Federal, State or county government as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife or property.  A noxious weed is also commonly defined as a plant that grows out of place and is ‘competitive, persistent, and pernicious.”

Invasive weeds “include not only noxious weeds, but also other plants that are not native to this country or to the area where they are growing. The Bureau of Land Management considers plants invasive if they have been introduced into an environment where they did not evolve. As a result, they usually have no natural enemies to limit their reproduction and spread.  Some invasive plants can produce significant changes to vegetation, composition, structure, or ecosystem function.”

While state and county agencies officially recognize various species various species as noxious, we recognize a few additional species as problematic in Alta due to their non-native status and invasive behavior. Below is a list of species that are either present in Alta, or which are present regionally but which have not yet been documented in Alta.

Species present in Alta and listed by the State: Spotted Knapweed, Yellow Toadflax, Dalmatian Toadflax, Canada Thistle, Musk Thistle, Field Bindweed

Species present in Alta but not listed by the State: Oxeye Daisy, Common St. Johnswort, Houndstongue

Species documented and treated but not on the State list: Yellow Sweet Clover, Burdock, Cheat grass/downy brome, Pennycress, Curly Dock, Bull Thistle

How You Can Help
–Learn about Alta’s most problematic species, and about removal techniques by attending invasive weed removal events. Check out the 2017 Summer Stewardship Calendar for more information.
–Tour the grounds of your home, business, or work facility, as it is near and within human development that invasive species are most common.
–Please notify Alta Environmental Center (environment@alta.com) or Friends of Alta (info@friendsofalta.org) about infestations of invasive species in areas you commonly observe by emailing photographs to these organizations.
–Follow the Alta Planning Commission’s monthly meeting agendas as the commission considers updated noxious and invasive species regulations for the Town of Alta.
–Visit our partner organizations online for more information about weed species and various monitoring and removal programs:

Salt Lake County
Cottonwood Canyons Foundation
Alta Environmental Center
Friends of Alta