Noxious Weed Control Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Noxious weeds are non-native plants that have been introduced to Washington through human actions. Because of their aggressive growth and lack of natural enemies in North America, these species are highly destructive, competitive, and difficult to control. They invade our croplands, rangeland, forest, prairies, rivers, lakes, wetlands and estuaries. Noxious weeds are a threat Washington’s ecology, natural resources and economy.

Washington’s noxious weed law (RCW 17.10) mandates the control of many weed species.

Class A weeds

Class A noxious weeds are not native to Washington and are either uncommon or unrecorded. Land owners are required to completely eradicate Class A noxious weeds. Eradication means to destroy and properly dispose of weeds, including plant roots.

Class B weeds

Class B noxious weeds are not native to Washington and are either uncommon or unrecorded in a region of the state. Land owners are required to control and prevent the spread of all class B noxious weeds designated for control in Chelan County within and from their property.

Class C weeds

Class C noxious weeds are widespread or are of special interest to the agricultural industry. Although the State Weed Board does not require control of Class C noxious weeds, a county weed board may require land owners to control and prevent the spread of select Class C weeds if they pose a threat to agriculture or natural resources. A complete list of the noxious weeds designated for control in Chelan County can be found here.

In addition to requiring land owners to control noxious weeds, RCW 17.10 also establishes a program for administering the noxious weed law. Education, coordination, and enforcement activities are carried out by three groups:

Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board

Washington’s noxious weed program is coordinated through the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. The State Weed Board’s mission is to serve as responsible stewards of Washington’s land and resources by protecting and preserving it from the degrading impact of exotic, invasive noxious weeds. The state board pursues this mission by:

  • Increasing public awareness of weed problems through education
  • Coordinating and assisting county weed boards with their educational and weed control efforts
  • Assembling and distributing information on Washington’s weeds
  • Developing statewide integrated pest management plans for specific species
  • Promoting cooperation and compliance from state and federal land agencies and tribal governments
  • Developing the state noxious weed list

County Noxious Weed Control Boards

RCW 17.10 allows for the activation of a noxious weed board in each county. County weed programs provide many services to the communities they serve, including:

  • Seeking to achieve voluntary land owner compliance with the state weed law through education
  • Providing the public with technical information on weeds and control options
  • Setting local weed control priorities
  • Carrying out weed enforcement actions as needed to protect resources

Weed Districts

Established under Washington’s first weed laws, RCW 17.04 and 17.06, weed districts still operate in some regions of the State. These districts are responsible for weed control in small areas, typically the size of irrigation districts. Weed districts have responsibilities and activities similar to county weed boards.

Washington State Department of Agriculture:

This department also plays a role in the state weed program by:

  • Performing any necessary enforcement activities in counties without activated noxious weed boards
  • Negotiating and ruling in inter-county disputes


RCW 17.10 holds landowners, including counties and state land agencies, responsible for controlling weeds on their property. Federally owned lands are subject to the Federal Noxious Weed Act. Since many people are unfamiliar with noxious weeds, the State and County Weed Boards and Weed Districts are available to provide information on identification and control options. Landowners can choose the control method they feel is most appropriate for their property.

The department will send someone out to check on the situation. If  there is a problem with noxious weeds, the department will send a letter to the  property owner noting the legal responsibilities to control the weeds together  with information about how to identify and control the weed(s). The department  will monitor progress and work with the land owner if requested.

Some noxious weeds can be harmful to humans and/or livestock. While some species contain toxins that can be harmful on contact, others must be ingested to cause a reaction. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board provides a helpful search tool to identify which weeds are toxic to humans and livestock as well as a publication to assist in identifying and controlling common toxic noxious weeds and other toxic plant species.

Some of our local noxious weeds are toxic to humans and/or livestock. If you suspect you have a toxic noxious weed on your property, please call the Chelan County Noxious Weed Department at (509) 667-6576 to schedule an appointment for a member of our staff to come out and help identify the plant.   

Non-native plants and animals have a substantial negative impact on Washington’s landscapes, ecosystems, agriculture, commerce and recreation. According to a 2017 report (, if invasive species were allowed to spread for 1 year without prevention or control measures, Washington State would lose $47.6 million in recreation, $100.5 million in water facilities, $282.9 million in livestock, $297 million in timber, and $589.2 million in crops.

Noxious weeds degrade wildlife habitat by clogging streams, lakes and wetlands. Often, noxious weeds form dense monocultures eliminating or drastically reducing forage plants in hay fields and pastures and replacing native vegetation in open, undisturbed natural areas.

Noxious weeds can be spread in a variety of ways. While some of these methods are natural (wind, water and wild animals), many seeds are spread with the help of humans and pets. Cars, bikes and shoes can all spread weed seeds. Pets can also be unknowing carriers of weed seeds, as burrs and other seeds are carried in their fur and paws.

Several methods are available for controlling noxious weeds. Options include:

  • Learning to recognize and eliminate weeds before they establish
  • Cultural methods, such as rotating crops and properly timing fertilizer applications
  • Mechanical methods, such as hand-pulling, digging and tilling
  • Biological methods using natural enemies, such as insects, bacteria and fungi
  • Herbicide control using EPA-approved products in accordance with the label

In many cases, a combination of control methods will be most effective in reducing a weed infestation. Please call us at (509) 667-6576 or email us at for more information about how to deal with your particular weed problem.

History - A state law passed in 1969 mandated that all counties in Washington have a program to combat noxious weeds. The Chelan County Noxious Weed Control Board was established April 22, 1986 and consists of five citizen volunteers who represent five districts that cover the entire county. The Board meets throughout the year and provides vision and direction for the weed control program.

Focus - Chelan County’s Noxious Weed Control Board focuses on weed control education and and technical assistance. The Board is also involved in several local grant-funded projects to control invasive species including knotweed, flowering rush, garden loosestrife and common crupina. During the months of March through October, when weeds are actively growing, the Weed Board employs a field staff with natural resource, horticulture and agriculture backgrounds to survey public and privately-owned lands for noxious weeds and to work with land owners to achieve weed control goals.

Posted: 02/02/2015 09:31 AM
Last Updated: 01/29/2019 10:48 AM

Chelan County Calendar

Upcoming events and schedules at the county!

  • 19
    Jul 2024
    08:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Ballots will be mailed to voters

    Posted by: Chelan County Elections

    Ballots will be mailed to voters

  • 19
    Jul 2024
    01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Hearing Examiner - July 17, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street or via Zoom
  • 10
    Jul 2024
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Chelan County Civil Service Commission

    Posted by: Human Resources

    The Chelan County Civil Service Commission will be meeting on July 10, 2024.

    Chelan County Commissioners Office, Conference Room 1
  • 03
    Jul 2024
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM

    Hearing Examiner - July 03, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    By Zoom Video Conference or in person call 667-6225
  • 26
    Jun 2024
    06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

    Planning Commission - June 26,2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street