2013 Noxious Weed Tech Position Announcement!

Every Spring the CDA Noxious Weed Program hires two seasonal field technicians to help with noxious weed treatments primarily in the Denver metropolitan area. We are pleased to announce that Richard Burgess will be joining us again for his 7th season with CDA, and now we just need one more individual who is willing to work outside in Colorado summer conditions from April through September. Please find the position announcement below, and apply by Monday, March 18th, 2013.


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The Colorado Weed Network

The Colorado Weed Network (first discussed after last May’s field tour) is a volunteer-run organization that meets 4-6 times each year to hear presentations, discuss issues, and receive the latest information regarding noxious weeds in Colorado. The January meeting was held at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Hunter Education building from 9-12 on the morning of Wednesday, January 30th.

The January program included two presentations and a brief roundtable discussion. In the first presentation Andrew Skibo, Ph.D., of SePRO Corporation in Fort Collins, presented his research on herbicide options for knotweeds, three of which are on Colorado’s A List. Then Dr. Anna Sher, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Denver University, presented on Tamarisk and Riparian Management in a Post-Beetle Era. Both presentations were very informative! The roundtable discussion focused on getting website feedback and volunteers for the CWN. There was also talk of the grant money available through CDA (linked here; applications are due at 5:oo PM, Friday, February 22).

Steve Ryder, Colorado's State Weed Coordinator, presents Dave Weber, former Weed Network Coordinator, with a Certificate of Appreciation from the CDA.

Steve Ryder, Colorado’s State Weed Coordinator, presents Dave Weber, former Weed Network Coordinator, with a Certificate of Appreciation from the CDA.

Typically there are three or even four presentations at each Network meeting, but this time we had a celebration to throw! After approximately 18 years of helping to organize these meetings, former Colorado Division of Wildlife Noxious Weed Coordinator Dave Weber has retired from his duties as the official Weed Network coordinator. To honor his commitment and leadership, we presented Dave with a plaque and threw a party to close the January meeting. The plaque and party had a purple loosestrife theme, complete with purple cupcakes, since Dave has also spent the past 20 years helping organize treatment of this List A species along the Front Range of Colorado.

Steve Ryder, Dave Weber, and Elizabeth Brown (Invasive Species Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife) enjoy purple-frosted cupcakes at Dave's party.

Steve Ryder, Dave Weber, and Elizabeth Brown (Invasive Species Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife) enjoy purple-frosted cupcakes at Dave’s party.



For the moment, CDA and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to keep the Network going. CDA has created a new website which we hope will help organize the meeting information and expose the dates, locations, and programs to a broader audience. We are currently looking for a new coordinator to oversee keeping the website information up to date and recruiting volunteers. Please email weeds@state.co.us if you are interested!

Please visit the CWN's new website for information on past and future meetings, to sign up to volunteer, and to see the latest in noxious weed job openings and news!

Visit the new website for information on past and future meetings, to sign up to volunteer, and to see the latest in noxious weed news and job openings!

The Colorado Weed Network is a free organization open to anyone with an interest in noxious weeds. Please email Russell Johnson (rjohnson@co.arapahoe.co.us) with your name, organization, and email address if you would like to receive future emails regarding meetings and updates.

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Meet Cecily Mui, Our New List B Noxious Weed Specialist!

The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Program is trilled to welcome Cecily Mui! Cecily started as the List B Noxious Weed Specialist (a brand new position which grew our program by 50%!) on January 15th, 2013, and she has gotten right to work on List B management plans. Her focus will be to work with landowners and entities around the state to identify, treat, and help decrease List B species populations. Given that there are 37 species on this list, and that the List B species are more prevalent than the 22 List A species, this is no small task!

Cecily will incorporate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to help property managers decrease their List B populations. IPM uses a variety of tools to reduce populations of noxious weeds in the least harmful yet effective way possible. Techniques can include: mechanical treatments such as mowing, mulching, burning, and solarization; cultural techniques such as grazing, tilling, seeding; biological control techniques; and chemical techniques. Cecily will work closely with our Insectary program to recommend biological control agents when possible. She also holds a Qualified Supervisor license from CDA.

Cecily is pictured here with her Basenji mutt pooch named Oscar.

Cecily with her dog Oscar at Bryce Canyon.

Prior to joining CDA, Cecily worked as a project manager for ecological restoration and trail maintenance for the non-profit Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado. She also served as a resource specialist at South Platte Park in the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District in Littleton, Colorado. She holds B.S. degrees in wildlife ecology and agriculture education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with a Peace Corps Master’s degree from Colorado State University. For her Master’s degree she studied water quality and the impact of tourism in Morocco.

Feel free to welcome Cecily directly! Her contact info is:
Email: cecily.mui@state.co.us
Phone: (303) 239-4465

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The CDA Weed Crew, 2012 Season

All summer I tried to post about the CDA Noxious Weed Crew, but it turns out that it’s difficult to write these posts when we’re out in the field all the time! Haha, so anyway, every year CDA hires two seasonal staff members to work with the EDRR Specialist from April through September. The EDRR Specialist schedules the field crew to help entities along the Front Range of Colorado and along the eastern I-70 Corridor with their List A noxious weed problems.

CDA’s 2012 Noxious Weed Crew
Richard Burgess, Patty York, and Michal Oleksy

Richard Burgess returned for his sixth year on the CDA field crew, and we were happy to also welcome Michal (pronounced Mee-how) Oleksy for the second half of the 2012 season. Richard kicked off the field season in early April this year, focusing first on myrtle spurge and Mediterranean sage, two List A plants. The transition to working on orange hawkweed, yellow starthistle, and purple loosestrife was made in mid-June, and Michal was hired shortly after that. The crew had an extremely busy season and was available to help anyone within an hour and fifteen minutes of the Lakewood office who needed assistance with List A species. We didn’t have any difficulty finding work this summer! The field crew will be available again next season, hopefully starting in March with myrtle spurge and working all the way through October. Please contact Patty York at patty.york@state.co.us if you need help with List A species.

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A Sendoff For Sheila

Sheila Grother, the beloved weed manager for San Miguel County, is leaving us after almost 15 years of outstanding service. Sheila built a very successful San Miguel County weed program over the years, and her efforts have gone a long way in getting a handle on what used to be some pretty bad noxious weed infestations. One of Sheila’s greatest success stories is the drastic reduction of sulfur cinquefoil from an area abutting U.S. Forest Service land, just northeast of Norwood, CO. The infestation is thought to have started where vehicles being used to fight forest fires were stored a number of years ago. The current population of sulfur cinquefoil is only a fragment of what it used to be, thanks to the strategic treatment efforts over the years by Sheila and her weed crew.

Throughout the years, Sheila has been a very active member in the state’s noxious weed community. She has served on the State Weed Advisory Committee, within the Colorado Weed Management Association (CWMA) organization, and has been a vital partner to Colorado’s West Slope and San Miguel’s neighboring counties. Sheila will continue to serve as the head of the CWMA Nominations and Awards Committee.

Shiela about to cut her beautiful (and delicious!) carrot cake (notice the bindweed frosting around the edges!).

Sheila and I at her party!








I was lucky enough to attend Sheila’s sendoff party last Friday, September 14th, which was a great time. Friends and coworkers came from all over to eat cake and celebrate a wonderful career. Sheila and her husband were leaving the following day for the Snake River in Idaho, a wonderful trip that they take often. We all wish Sheila the best and hope that retirement will treat her and her family well. Thank you for all you have done for the state noxious weed program, Sheila!

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Rush Skeletonweed: List A Alert!

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Before this summer, we only knew of one small infestation of rush skeletonweed in the entire state of Colorado. We now know of two, and two additional sites have been reported (but no living plants were found). Rush skeletonweed is … Continue reading

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Ridgway Meadow Knapweed Spray Event

One of the duties of the EDRR Specialist is to travel around the state during the summer field season and help local entities get rid of their List A populations. This past week I traveled to Ridgway in Ouray County to help with the meadow knapweed spray event. Ron Mabry, the Ouray County Weed Manager, coordinates a group effort each year to help spray the noxious weed. Ron has been working on this site since its discovery five years ago, and we have already seen an incredible decrease in the infestation!

Meadow knapweed is one of five species in the knapweed genus (Centaurea) listed on Colorado’s Noxious Weed List. Three of these species are on the A List (meadow and squarrose knapweed, along with yellow starthistle), and two are List B species (diffuse and spotted knapweed). Meadow knapweed is a perennial that prefers moist roadsides and meadows, river banks, and forest openings. The three populations in Colorado are between 6,000 and 9,000 feet elevation.

Meadow knapweed in bloom. Leaves are up to 6 inch long and 1 inch wide and decrease in size as they move up the stem. The lower leaves are toothed or lobed and the upper leaves are linear.
(photo courtesy of Kelly Uhing)

Meadow knapweed flowers are purple to pinkish in color and can bloom from May to August. The bracts are brown with a fringed margin.
(photo courtesy Eric Coombs, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture)

This year’s event happened this past Tuesday, July 24th. Ron invited local, state, and federal agencies to participate, and all levels of government were represented. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent 2 people, I was there from the State Department of Agriculture, three county weed crews helped out, and the private ranch where the infestation occurs sent their team as well. In total there were 14 people spraying herbicide, along with Ron who was coordinating efforts in the three locations on the ranch where the infestation is the worst. Herbicides used were aminopyralid (the active ingredient in Milestone), and 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (better known as 2, 4-D).

Melissa Werkmeister, Mesa County’s new Weed Manager, serves herself lunch from the amazing buffet prepared by Ron Mabry and Mary.

After a morning of spraying meadow knapweed, the crew enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Ron and his helper Mary. There was pulled pork and coleslaw, deviled eggs, pasta and cucumber salad, chips and dips, fresh cherries, and sweet tea to drink. In addition, Mary had mad both a pineapple upside-down cake and a mocha cream tiramisu-style dessert. Everything was delicious!

Ron Mabry enjoys making delicious food in appreciation of the group’s efforts, and he jokes that it’s also a way to keep people coming back each year! This was the fifth year in a row that the event had taken place, and each year has had at least this many people helping out.

Spray crews from the J-M Ranch, the BLM, Mesa County, Montrose County, and the CDA helped with the Ridgway meadow knapweed last Tuesday. Ron Mabry, the Ouray County Weed Manager and organizer of the event is sixth from the right, in the brown shirt and tan ball cap. Ron would like to let everyone know that he is very appreciative of their help!

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