PILLAGER -- Noxious weeds will take over Cass County fields and turn them to tumbleweed if more is not done to eradicate them, Don Wiese said to the Cass County Board Tuesday.
He said little has been done to enforce weed laws since Ed Switajewski left his position as county weed inspector about 10 years ago.
County Administrator Robert Yochum said at that time the county board decided the county did not want to assume responsibility for spraying hazardous chemicals. The board adopted a mowing policy to eradicate weeds and delegated weed eradication jurisdiction to townships.
Since then, county environmental services department staff has held annual training for township weed inspectors, he said.
Commissioner Virgil Foster, a farmer, said township attendance at training meetings has been slim.
Wiese said annual mowing is not enough. Most noxious weeds must be mowed at least three times a year to remove them, he explained.
He criticized townships and the county highway department as much as some private landowners for failing to do enough to eradicate weeds.
Wormwood, a sample of which he brought to the meeting, is spreading throughout central Cass farmland, Wiese said, because neither adequate spraying, nor frequent enough mowing is done.
Yochum said the county has sent letters to some of Wiese's neighbors, but the letters have brought little response.
Townships do have the power to order eradication from private properties, then bill landowners, according to Yochum, but this has not be done either.
The county board voted to put notices in area newspapers advising landowners they must remove noxious weeks.
Environmental Services Department also will be directed to send a letter to townships reminding them that they are liable for the effects of noxious weeds if they do not act to remove them.
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