Provincial funding cutbacks exacerbate weed problem

As landowners become desperate to keep noxious weeds along highways from spreading onto farmland...

As landowners become desperate to keep noxious weeds along highways from spreading onto farmland, the Agricultural Services for the County of Stettler has issued weed notices to the Minister of Transportation to control the growth and spread of noxious weeds alongside all two digit and three digit highways within the county’s borders.

“We have been controlling weeds on county controlled roadsides since spring,” said Quinton Beaumont, director of Agricultural Services. “But we have been noticing problems developing along the highways, especially with the great growing season we are having here.”

According to Beaumont, county’s Agricultural Services cannot control foliage along numbered highways which fall under the jurisdiction of the Alberta Government.

However, at the July 13 council meeting, many council members voiced their concerns from landowners in their divisions.

“We need to control noxious weeds along these highways,” said Reeve Nixon. “We cannot expect our landowners to control noxious weeds on their properties and then not expect the same diligence from our provincial government.”

Weeds classified as noxious in the County of Stettler include: Canadian Thistle, Absinthe Wormwood, Perennial Sow Thistle, White Cockle, Oxeye Daisy, Scentless Chamomile and Yellow Toadflax.

With two weeks to control noxious weeds along highways in the county through their contract sprayer, the Alberta Transportation has also informed the county that because of budget constraints they will mow ditches along the county’s highways only once this season, and have scheduled mowing alongside highways within the borders for mid to late August, weather pending.

With the ensuing circumstance, the county has been receiving calls over the past few weeks about tall grass and weeds alongside Alberta highways which are now causing safety concerns as wildlife is undetectable and visibility at intersections is becoming a concern for motorists.

Alberta Transportation is encouraging farmers to take out hay permits for haying the ditches.