The Larimer County Weed District encompasses the eastern one sixth of the county (see District Map). Funding for the District is provided by a mill levy paid by residents within the District boundary. Activities conducted outside the Weed District are supported through an enterprise program that obtains funds from contracted weed management work with private landowners, federal, state, and local agencies and from state and federal grants. It is the goal of the District to eventually expand and encompass all of Larimer County. Expansion would require voter approval through a ballot initiative or referendum, and will be proposed in the near future.
A group of farm leaders under the direction of the Extension Director initially laid the groundwork for the formation of the Larimer County Weed Control District in 1959.
The Fort Collins Weed District was formed March 2, 1960. The Loveland Weed Control District was formed about a month later on April 13. The lands that these districts encompassed are in the collection of documents and files in the Larimer County Courthouse Archives.
The two districts were formed as part of a pilot program, which was to last three years, to control Canada thistle. Landowners outside the pilot districts saw just how successful the program was in combating Canada thistle, and they petitioned to form another district, which would include more of the County's land.
At first, some committee members wanted to include the rest of the County in its entirety. This was voted down because of the vast areas of range and forest lands. The final decision was to include Canada thistle control on all irrigated lands within the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Thus, the East Larimer County Weed Control District was formed April 19, 1962.
In addition, the two pilot districts petitioned for an extension of their termination date in November 1962. A new termination date was set for December 31, 1966.
In February 1967, the Advisory Committee members of the three districts petitioned to dissolve the districts and consolidate them into one. On March 1, 1967, the three districts became the Larimer County Weed Control District.
The original districts were formed using the parameters of The Pest Act, Ch. 6, Art.16, CRS 1953. The Larimer County Weed Control District now operates under 35-5 CRS 1973 and 35-5.5 CRS 1990.
After leafy spurge was declared a noxious weed by the Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Colorado, it gained noxious weed status by ballot in the Larimer County Weed Control District in April 1979. Over the years, fifteen other weeds have been designated noxious in Larimer County, bringing the Larimer County noxious weed list to its current total of sixteen.
The districts were originally funded out of the County general fund. In 1982, the County attorney began to look at the option of a special mill levy to fund the District. Today, the Weed Control District is funded by a mill levy assessed landowners within the District boundaries. According to 35-5 CRS 1973, the mill levy cannot exceed 2 mills. The District now operates on a budget funded by a mill levy in the range of .143 mills. With the passage of the tax limitation bill, Amendment I, this will probably be the maximum mill levy allowable.
Bylaws for the Weed Control District were proposed and in November 1993, accepted by the seven member Advisory Committee.
The current Weed District consists of five full-time employees: a Land Stewardship Manager, a Senior Weed Specialist, and three Weed Specialists. During the busy season from April - October, several seasonal employees fill a variety of roles. The staff itself brings over fifty years of dedication to Larimer County and to the Weed District in particular. Our experience and backgrounds encompass a diverse history of expertise in weed management and land stewardship. We draw upon this experience to provide landowners with services that are designed to educate and propagate our mission of community involvement. We are constantly keeping ourselves abreast with the latest changes in land stewardship practices through continued education and research. Much of the research consists of weed management demonstration plots set up cooperatively with the Weed Science group from Colorado State University.
Recently our Land Stewardship Manager Tim D'Amato was awarded the Outstanding Weed Manager award by the Western Society of Weed Science. See the award presentation and Tim's acceptance speech here.