Chapter 17.10 RCW

NOXIOUS WEEDS—CONTROL BOARDS

Sections
PurposeConstruction1975 1st ex.s. c 13.
Definitions.
County noxious weed control boardsCreatedJurisdictionInactive status.
State noxious weed control boardMembersTermsElectionsMeetingsReimbursement for travel expenses.
Activation of inactive county noxious weed control board.
Activated county noxious weed control boardMembersElectionTermsMeetingsQuorumExpensesOfficersVacancy.
Activated county noxious weed control boardWeed coordinatorAuthorityRules and regulations.
State noxious weed control boardPowersReport.
DirectorPowers.
State noxious weed listHearingAdoptionGuidelines for placing plants on the listDissemination.
State noxious weed listSelection of weeds for control by county board.
Order to county board to include weed from state board's list in county's noxious weed list.
Regional noxious weed control boardCreation.
Regional noxious weed control boardMembersMeetingsQuorumOfficersEffect on county boards.
Regional noxious weed control boardPowers and duties.
Liability of county and regional noxious weed control boards.
Owner's duty to control spread of noxious weeds.
State agencies' duty to control spread of noxious weedsReplacement of noxious weeds with native forage plants that are beneficial to pollinators.
Owners' agreements with county noxious weed control boardsTermsEnforcement.
Right of entryWarrant for noxious weed searchCivil liabilityPenalty for preventing entry.
Finding presence of noxious weedsNotice for failure of owner to controlControl by county boardLiability of ownerLienAlternative.
Hearing on liability for expense of controlNoticeReview.
Notice and information as to noxious weed control.
Noxious weed control on federal and tribal landsState and county cooperation.
Control of noxious weeds in open areas.
Quarantine of landOrderExpense.
ViolationsPenalty.
Selling product, article, or feed containing noxious weed seeds or toxic weedsPenaltyRulesInspectionsFees.
Special assessments, appropriations for noxious weed controlAssessment rates.
Applications for noxious weed control funds.
Administrative powers to be exercised in conformity with administrative procedure actUse of weed control substances subject to other acts.
Noxious weed control boardsAuthority to obtain insurance or surety bonds.
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weeds.
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weedsNotice of lien.
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weedsClaimFilingContents.
Notice of infractionIssuance.
InfractionPenalty.
Deactivation of county noxious weed control boardHearing.
Weed districtsContinuationDissolutionTransfer of assessment funds.


17.10.007
Purpose—Construction—1975 1st ex.s. c 13.

The purpose of this chapter is to limit economic loss and adverse effects to Washington's agricultural, natural, and human resources due to the presence and spread of noxious weeds on all terrestrial and aquatic areas in the state.
The intent of the legislature is that this chapter be liberally construed, and that the jurisdiction, powers, and duties granted to the county noxious weed control boards by this chapter are limited only by specific provisions of this chapter or other state and federal law.



17.10.010
Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(1) "Noxious weed" means a plant that when established is highly destructive, competitive, or difficult to control by cultural or chemical practices.
(2) "State noxious weed list" means a list of noxious weeds adopted by the state noxious weed control board. The list is divided into three classes:
(a) Class A consists of those noxious weeds not native to the state that are of limited distribution or are unrecorded in the state and that pose a serious threat to the state;
(b) Class B consists of those noxious weeds not native to the state that are of limited distribution or are unrecorded in a region of the state and that pose a serious threat to that region;
(c) Class C consists of any other noxious weeds.
(3) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, firm, the state or any department, agency, or subdivision thereof, or any other entity.
(4) "Owner" means the person in actual control of property, or his or her agent, whether the control is based on legal or equitable title or on any other interest entitling the holder to possession and, for purposes of liability, pursuant to RCW 17.10.170 or 17.10.210, means the possessor of legal or equitable title or the possessor of an easement: PROVIDED, That when the possessor of an easement has the right to control or limit the growth of vegetation within the boundaries of an easement, only the possessor of the easement is deemed, for the purpose of this chapter, an "owner" of the property within the boundaries of the easement.
(5) As pertains to the duty of an owner, the words "control", "contain", "eradicate", and the term "prevent the spread of noxious weeds" means conforming to the standards of noxious weed control or prevention in this chapter or as adopted by rule in chapter 16-750 WAC by the state noxious weed control board and an activated county noxious weed control board.
(6) "Agent" means any occupant or any other person acting for the owner and working or in charge of the land.
(7) "Agricultural purposes" are those that are intended to provide for the growth and harvest of food and fiber.
(8) "Director" means the director of the department of agriculture or the director's appointed representative.
(9) "Weed district" means a weed district as defined in chapters 17.04 and 17.06 RCW.
(10) "Aquatic noxious weed" means an aquatic plant species that is listed on the state weed list under RCW 17.10.080.
(11) "Screenings" means a mixture of mill or elevator run mixture or a combination of varying amounts of materials obtained in the process of cleaning either grain or seeds, or both, such as light or broken grain or seed, weed seeds, hulls, chaff, joints, straw, elevator dust, floor sweepings, sand, and dirt.
NOTES:
Effective date1995 c 255: See RCW 17.26.901.



17.10.020
County noxious weed control boards—Created—Jurisdiction—Inactive status.

(1) In each county of the state there is created a noxious weed control board, bearing the name of the county within which it is located. The jurisdictional boundaries of each board are the boundaries of the county within which it is located.
(2) Each noxious weed control board is inactive until activated pursuant to the provisions of RCW 17.10.040.



17.10.030
State noxious weed control board—Members—Terms—Elections—Meetings—Reimbursement for travel expenses.

There is created a state noxious weed control board comprised of nine voting members and three nonvoting members. Four of the voting members shall be elected by the members of the various activated county noxious weed control boards, and shall be residents of a county in which a county noxious weed control board has been activated and a member of said board, and those qualifications shall continue through their term of office. Two of these members shall be elected from the west side of the state, the crest of the Cascades being the dividing line, and two from the east side of the state. The director of agriculture is a voting member of the board. One voting member shall be elected by the directors of the various active weed districts formed under chapter 17.04 or 17.06 RCW. The Washington state association of counties appoints one voting member who shall be a member of a county legislative authority. The director shall appoint two voting members to represent the public interest, one from the west side and one from the east side of the state. The director shall also appoint three nonvoting members representing scientific disciplines relating to weed control. The term of office for all members of the board is three years from the date of election or appointment.
The board, by rule, shall establish a position number for each elected position of the board and shall designate which county noxious weed control board members are eligible to vote for each elected position. The elected members serve staggered terms. Elections for the elected members of the board shall be held thirty days prior to the expiration date of their respective terms. Nominations and elections shall be by mail and conducted by the board.
The board shall conduct its first meeting within thirty days after all its members have been elected. The board shall elect from its members a chair and other officers as may be necessary. A majority of the voting members of the board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business and is necessary for any action taken by the board. The members of the board serve without salary, but shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties under this chapter in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.
[ 1997 c 353 § 4; 1987 c 438 § 2; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 34 § 23; 1969 ex.s. c 113 § 3.]
NOTES:
Effective dateSeverability1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 34: See notes following RCW 2.08.115.



17.10.040
Activation of inactive county noxious weed control board.

An inactive county noxious weed control board may be activated by any one of the following methods:
(1) Either within sixty days after a petition is filed by one hundred registered voters within the county or, on its own motion, the county legislative authority shall hold a hearing to determine whether there is a need, due to a damaging infestation of noxious weeds, to activate the county noxious weed control board. If such a need is found to exist, then the county legislative authority shall, in the manner provided by RCW 17.10.050, appoint five persons to the county's noxious weed control board.
(2) If the county's noxious weed control board is not activated within one year following a hearing by the county legislative authority to determine the need for activation, then upon the filing with the state noxious weed control board of a petition comprised either of the signatures of at least two hundred registered voters within the county, or of the signatures of a majority of an adjacent county's noxious weed control board, the state board shall, within six months of the date of the filing, hold a hearing in the county to determine the need for activation. If a need for activation is found to exist, then the state board shall order the county legislative authority to activate the county's noxious weed control board and to appoint members to the board in the manner provided by RCW 17.10.050.
(3) The director, upon request of the state noxious weed control board, shall order a county legislative authority to activate the noxious weed control board immediately if an infestation of a class A noxious weed or class B noxious weed designated for control on the state noxious weed list is confirmed in that county. The county legislative authority may, as an alternative to activating the noxious weed board, combat the class A noxious weed or class B noxious weed with county resources and personnel operating with the authorities and responsibilities imposed by this chapter on a county noxious weed control board. No county may continue without a noxious weed control board for a second consecutive year if the class A noxious weed or class B noxious weed has not been eradicated.



17.10.050
Activated county noxious weed control board—Members—Election—Terms—Meetings—Quorum—Expenses—Officers—Vacancy.

(1) Each activated county noxious weed control board consists of five voting members appointed by the county legislative authority. In appointing the voting members, the county legislative authority shall divide the county into five geographical areas that best represent the county's interests, and appoint a voting member from each geographical area. At least four of the voting members shall be engaged in the primary production of agricultural products. There is one nonvoting member on the board who is the chair of the county extension office or an extension agent appointed by the chair of the county extension office. Each voting member of the board serves a term of four years, except that the county legislative authority shall, when a board is first activated under this chapter, designate two voting members to serve terms of two years. The board members shall not receive a salary but shall be compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.
(2) The voting members of the board serve until their replacements are appointed. New members of the board shall be appointed at least thirty days prior to the expiration of any board member's term of office.
Notice of expiration of a term of office shall be published at least twice in a weekly or daily newspaper of general circulation in the section [geographical area] with last publication occurring at least ten days prior to the nomination. All persons interested in appointment to the board and residing in the geographical area with a pending nomination shall make a written application that includes the signatures of at least ten registered voters residing in the geographical area supporting the nomination to the county noxious weed control board. After nominations close, the county noxious weed control board shall, after a hearing, send the applications to the county legislative authority recommending the names of the most qualified candidates, and post the names of those nominees in the county courthouse and publish in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county. The county legislative authority, within ten days of receiving the list of nominees, shall appoint one of those nominees to the county noxious weed control board to represent that geographical area during that term of office.
(3) Within thirty days after all the members have been appointed, the board shall conduct its first meeting. A majority of the voting members of the board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business and is necessary for any action taken by the board. The board shall elect from its members a chair and other officers as may be necessary.
(4) In case of a vacancy occurring in any voting position on a county noxious weed control board, the county legislative authority of the county in which the board is located shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.



17.10.060
Activated county noxious weed control board—Weed coordinator—Authority—Rules and regulations.

(1) Each activated county noxious weed control board shall employ or otherwise provide a weed coordinator whose duties are fixed by the board but which shall include inspecting land to determine the presence of noxious weeds, offering technical assistance and education, and developing a program to achieve compliance with the weed law. The weed coordinator may be employed full time, part time, or seasonally by the county noxious weed control board. County weed board employment practices shall comply with county personnel policies. Within sixty days from initial employment the weed coordinator shall obtain a pest control consultant license, a pesticide operator license, and the necessary endorsements on the licenses as required by law. Each board may purchase, rent, or lease equipment, facilities, or products and may hire additional persons as it deems necessary for the administration of the county's noxious weed control program.
(2) Each activated county noxious weed control board has the power to adopt rules and regulations, subject to notice and hearing as provided in chapters 42.30 and * 42.32 RCW, as are necessary for an effective county weed control or eradication program.
(3) Each activated county noxious weed control board shall meet with a quorum at least quarterly.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: The only section in chapter 42.32 RCW, RCW 42.32.030, was recodified as RCW 42.30.035 pursuant to 2017 3rd sp.s. c 25 § 30.



17.10.070
State noxious weed control board—Powers—Report.

(1) In addition to the powers conferred on the state noxious weed control board under other provisions of this chapter, it has the power to:
(a) Employ a state noxious weed control board executive secretary, and additional persons as it deems necessary, to disseminate information relating to noxious weeds to county noxious weed control boards and weed districts, to coordinate the educational and weed control efforts of the various county and regional noxious weed control boards and weed districts, and to assist the board in carrying out its responsibilities;
(b) Adopt, amend, or repeal rules, pursuant to the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW, as may be necessary to carry out the duties and authorities assigned to the board by this chapter.
(2) The state noxious weed control board shall provide a written report before January 1st of each odd-numbered year to the county noxious weed control boards and the weed districts showing the expenditure of state funds on noxious weed control; specifically how the funds were spent; the status of the state, county, and district programs; and recommendations for the continued best use of state funds for noxious weed control. The report shall include recommendations as to the long-term needs regarding weed control.



17.10.074
Director—Powers.

(1) In addition to the powers conferred on the director under other provisions of this chapter, the director, with the advice of the state noxious weed control board, has power to:
(a) Require the county legislative authority or the noxious weed control board of any county or any weed district to report to it concerning the presence, absence, or estimated amount of noxious weeds and measures, if any, taken or planned for the control thereof;
(b) Employ staff as may be necessary in the administration of this chapter;
(c) Adopt, amend, or repeal rules, pursuant to the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW, as may be necessary to carry out this chapter;
(d) Do such things as may be necessary and incidental to the administration of its functions pursuant to this chapter including but not limited to surveying for and detecting noxious weed infestations;
(e) Upon receipt of a complaint signed by a majority of the members of an adjacent county noxious weed control board or weed district, or by one hundred registered voters that are land owners within the county, require the county legislative authority or noxious weed control board of the county or weed district that is the subject of the complaint to respond to the complaint within forty-five days with a plan for the control of the noxious weeds cited in the complaint;
(f) If the complaint in (e) of this subsection involves a class A or class B noxious weed, order the county legislative authority, noxious weed control board, or weed district to take immediate action to eradicate or control the noxious weed infestation. If the county or the weed district does not take action to control the noxious weed infestation in accordance with the order, the director may control it or cause it to be controlled. The county or weed district is liable for payment of the expense of the control work including necessary costs and expenses for attorneys' fees incurred by the director in securing payment from the county or weed district. The director may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to collect the expenses of the control work, costs, and attorneys' fees;
(g) In counties without an activated noxious weed control board, enter upon any property as provided for in RCW 17.10.160, issue or cause to be issued notices and citations and take the necessary action to control noxious weeds as provided in RCW 17.10.170, hold hearings on any charge or cost of control action taken as provided for in RCW 17.10.180, issue a notice of civil infraction as provided for in RCW 17.10.230 and 17.10.310 through [and] 17.10.350, and place a lien on any property pursuant to RCW 17.10.280, 17.10.290, and 17.10.300 with the same authorities and responsibilities imposed by these sections on county noxious weed control boards;
(h) Adopt a list of noxious weed seeds and toxic weeds which shall be controlled in designated articles, products, or feed stuffs as provided for in RCW 17.10.235.
(2) The moneys appropriated for noxious weed control to the department shall be used for administration of the state noxious weed control board, the administration of the director's powers under this chapter, the purchase of materials for controlling, containing, or eradicating noxious weeds, the purchase or collection of biological control agents for controlling noxious weeds, and the contracting for services to carry out the purposes of this chapter. In a county with an activated noxious weed control board, the director shall make every effort to contract with that board for the needed services.
(3) If the director determines the need to reallocate funds previously designated for county use, the director shall convene a meeting of the state noxious weed control board to seek its advice concerning any reallocation.



17.10.080
State noxious weed list—Hearing—Adoption—Guidelines for placing plants on the list—Dissemination.

(1) The state noxious weed control board shall each year or more often, following a hearing, adopt a state noxious weed list.
(2) The state noxious weed control board shall adopt guidelines by rule for placing plants on the state noxious weed list. These guidelines must include criteria for reconsideration of proposed new species that were not adopted by the state noxious weed control board, including the need for the board to be presented with additional data from scientific sources regarding any invasive and noxious qualities of the species and from existing positive economic benefits before taking any action.
(3) Any person may request during a comment period established by the state noxious weed control board the inclusion, deletion, or designation change of any plant to the state noxious weed list.
(4) The state noxious weed control board shall send a copy of the list to each activated county noxious weed control board, to each weed district, and to the county legislative authority of each county with an inactive noxious weed control board.
(5) The record of rule making must include the written findings of the board for the inclusion of each plant on the list. The findings shall be made available upon request to any interested person.
NOTES:
Effective date1989 c 175: See note following RCW 34.05.010.



17.10.090
State noxious weed list—Selection of weeds for control by county board.

(1) Each county noxious weed control board shall, within ninety days of the adoption of the state noxious weed list from the state noxious weed control board and following a hearing, select those weeds from the class C list and those weeds from the class B list not designated for control in the noxious weed control region in which the county lies that it finds necessary to be controlled in the county.
(2) The weeds thus selected and all class A weeds and those class B weeds that have been designated for control in the noxious weed control region in which the county lies shall be classified within that county as noxious weeds, and those weeds comprise the county noxious weed list.
(3) Nothing in this chapter limits a county noxious weed control board, or other branch of county or city government, from conducting education, outreach, or other assistance regarding plant species not included on the state noxious weed list if the county or city determines that the plant species causes localized risk or concern.



17.10.100
Order to county board to include weed from state board's list in county's noxious weed list.

Where any of the following occur, the state noxious weed control board may, following a hearing, order any county noxious weed control board or weed district to include a noxious weed from the state board's list in the county's noxious weed list:
(1) Where the state noxious weed control board receives a petition from at least one hundred registered voters within the county requesting that the weed be listed.
(2) Where the state noxious weed control board receives a request for inclusion from an adjacent county's noxious weed control board or weed district, which the adjacent board or district has included that weed in its county list, and the adjacent board or weed district alleges that its noxious weed control program is being hampered by the failure to include the weed on the county's noxious weed list.



17.10.110
Regional noxious weed control board—Creation.

A regional noxious weed control board comprising the area of two or more counties may be created as follows:
Either the county legislative authority, or the noxious weed control board, or both, of two or more counties may, upon a determination that the purpose of this chapter will be served by the creation of a regional noxious weed control board, adopt a resolution providing for a limited merger of the functions of their respective counties noxious weed control boards. The resolution becomes effective only when a similar resolution is adopted by the other county or counties comprising the proposed regional board.



17.10.120
Regional noxious weed control board—Members—Meetings—Quorum—Officers—Effect on county boards.

In any case where a regional noxious weed control board is created, the county noxious weed control boards comprising the regional board shall still remain in existence and shall retain all powers and duties provided for the boards under this chapter.
The regional noxious weed control board is comprised of the voting members and the nonvoting members of the component counties noxious weed control boards or county legislative authorities who shall, respectively, be the voting and nonvoting members of the regional board: PROVIDED, That each county shall have an equal number of voting members. The board may appoint other nonvoting members as deemed necessary. A majority of the voting members of the board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business and is necessary for any action taken by the board. The board shall elect a chair from its members and other officers as may be necessary. Members of the regional board serve without salary but shall be compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.



17.10.130
Regional noxious weed control board—Powers and duties.

The powers and duties of a regional noxious weed control board are as follows:
(1) The regional board shall, within ninety days of the adoption of the state noxious weed list from the state noxious weed control board and following a hearing, select those weeds from the state list that it finds necessary to be controlled on a regional basis. The weeds thus selected shall also be contained in the county noxious weed list of each county in the region.
(2) The regional board shall take action as may be necessary to coordinate the noxious weed control programs of the region and adopt a regional plan for the control of noxious weeds.



17.10.134
Liability of county and regional noxious weed control boards.

Obligations or liabilities incurred by any county or regional noxious weed control board or any claims against a county or regional noxious weed control board are governed by chapter 4.96 RCW or RCW 4.08.120: PROVIDED, That individual members or employees of a county noxious weed control board are personally immune from civil liability for damages arising from actions performed within the scope of their official duties or employment.



17.10.140
Owner's duty to control spread of noxious weeds.

(1) Except as is provided under subsection (2) of this section, every owner shall perform or cause to be performed those acts as may be necessary to:
(a) Eradicate all class A noxious weeds;
(b) Control and prevent the spread of all class B noxious weeds designated for control in that region within and from the owner's property; and
(c) Control and prevent the spread of all class B and class C noxious weeds listed on the county weed list as locally mandated control priorities within and from the owner's property.
(2) Forestlands classified under RCW 17.10.240(2), or meeting the definition of forestlands contained in RCW 17.10.240, are subject to the requirements of subsection (1)(a) and (b) of this section at all times. Forestlands are subject to the requirements of subsection (1)(c) of this section only within a one thousand foot buffer strip of adjacent land uses. In addition, forestlands are subject to subsection (1)(c) of this section for a single five-year period following the harvesting of trees for lumber.



17.10.145
State agencies' duty to control spread of noxious weeds—Replacement of noxious weeds with native forage plants that are beneficial to pollinators.

(1) All state agencies shall control noxious weeds on lands they own, lease, or otherwise control through integrated pest management practices. Agencies shall develop plans in cooperation with county noxious weed control boards to control noxious weeds in accordance with standards in this chapter.
(2) All state agencies' lands must comply with this chapter, regardless of noxious weed control efforts on adjacent lands.
(3) While conducting planned projects to ensure compliance with this chapter, all agencies must give preference, when deemed appropriate by the acting agency for the project and targeted resource management goals, to replacing pollen-rich or nectar-rich noxious weeds with native forage plants that are beneficial for all pollinators, including honey bees.
NOTES:
Pilot project2016 c 44: "(1) The state noxious weed control board shall conduct a pilot project that evaluates the options, methods, and costs of purposefully replacing pollen-rich and nectar-rich noxious weeds, such as knapweeds and nonnative thistles, which are productive forage plants for honey bees, with either native or noninvasive, nonnative forage plants that can produce similar levels of pollen and nectar with a similar bloom succession to support populations of honey bees and other pollinators. The goal of the pilot project is to develop optional guidance and best practices for landowners and land managers faced with the removal of noxious weeds. The pilot project must be developed to maximize the dual public benefits of reducing noxious weeds in Washington and supporting agricultural production through the maintenance of access to seasonally balanced pollen-rich and nectar-rich plants for honey bees and other pollinators.
(2)(a) In implementing the pilot project, the state noxious weed control board must coordinate with willing landowners to provide goods or services, such as plant starts and seed packs, necessary to replace noxious weeds with either native or noninvasive, nonnative plants or to create, in conjunction with noxious weed control efforts, new seasonally balanced forage patches for honey bees and other pollinators.
(b) Priority in participation in the pilot project must be given to interested private landowners located in areas where the dual benefits of the pilot project can be maximized. However, public landowners or managers may also be considered for participation. No landowner may be required to participate in the pilot project either directly or as a condition of a permit or other governmental action.
(3) The implementation details of the pilot project required by this section are at the sole discretion of the state noxious weed control board, including the selection of pilot project partners and participants. However, pilot project partners should be located in both eastern and western Washington. The state noxious weed control board:
(a) Shall coordinate with the county noxious weed control boards in which pilot projects are located, unless the county does not have a local noxious weed control board; and
(b) May coordinate with the state conservation commission or individual conservation districts in the implementation of the pilot project if the state noxious weed control board finds that coordination would be beneficial.
(4) The state noxious weed control board must issue a report to the legislature, consistent with RCW 43.01.036, that outlines the successes and challenges of the pilot project, including the development of the tools in this subsection. This report must be presented by October 31, 2020, and include:
(a) A description of the following tools:
(i) A list of suitable pollen-rich forage plant alternatives to noxious weeds, taking into account traits such as nectar and pollen quality, bloom succession, growth requirements, and habitat type;
(ii) A list of seed and plant start suppliers that may be able to provide pollen-rich forage plant alternatives to noxious weeds. The list may only include suppliers who are willing to ensure the identity and purity of seed through appropriate testing performed or approved by the Washington state department of agriculture or by any other agency authorized under the laws of any state, territory, or possession that has standards and procedures approved by the United States secretary of agriculture to ensure the identity and purity of seed; and
(iii) A matrix, based on the pilot project, to provide guidelines to landowners and land managers when replacing noxious weeds or creating new pollen-rich forage patches;
(b) An assessment scale that may be used by landowners, land managers, and the apiary industry to rate the usefulness of the tools described in this subsection; and
(c) Any recommendations for extending the pilot project or using the lessons learned as part of Washington's overall noxious weed control strategy.
(5) This section expires June 30, 2021." [ 2016 c 44 § 1.]
Effective date1995 c 374 §§ 69, 70, and 72-79: See note following RCW 16.24.130.



17.10.154
Owners' agreements with county noxious weed control boards—Terms—Enforcement.

It is recognized that the prevention, control, and eradication of noxious weeds presents a problem for immediate as well as for future action. It is further recognized that immediate prevention, control, and eradication is practicable on some lands and that prevention, control, and eradication on other lands should be extended over a period of time. Therefore, it is the intent of this chapter that county noxious weed control boards may use their discretion and, by agreement with the owners of land, may propose and accept plans for prevention, control, and eradication that may be extended over a period of years. The county noxious weed control board may make an agreement with the owner of any parcel of land by contract between the landowner and the respective county noxious weed control board, and the board shall enforce the terms of any agreement. The county noxious weed control board may make any terms that will best serve the interests of the owners of the parcel of land and the common welfare that comply with this chapter. Agreements made under this section must include at least a one thousand foot buffer for all adjacent agricultural land uses. Noxious weed control in this buffer must comply with RCW 17.10.140(1).



17.10.160
Right of entry—Warrant for noxious weed search—Civil liability—Penalty for preventing entry.

Any authorized agent or employee of the county noxious weed control board or of the state noxious weed control board or of the department of agriculture where not otherwise proscribed by law may enter upon any property for the purpose of administering this chapter and any power exercisable pursuant thereto, including the taking of specimens of weeds, general inspection, and the performance of eradication or control work. Prior to carrying out the purpose for which the entry is made, the official making such entry or someone in his or her behalf, shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the property as to the purpose and need for the entry.
(1) When there is probable cause to believe that there is property within this state not otherwise exempt from process or execution upon which noxious weeds are standing or growing and the owner refuses permission to inspect the property, a judge of the superior court or district court in the county in which the property is located may, upon the request of the county noxious weed control board or its agent, issue a warrant directed to the board or agent authorizing the taking of specimens of weeds or other materials, general inspection, and the performance of eradication or control work.
(2) Application for issuance and execution and return of the warrant authorized by this section shall be in accordance with the applicable rules of the superior court or the district courts.
(3) Nothing in this section requires the application for and issuance of any warrant not otherwise required by law: PROVIDED, That civil liability for negligence shall lie in any case in which entry and any of the activities connected therewith are not undertaken with reasonable care.
(4) Any person who improperly prevents or threatens to prevent entry upon land as authorized in this section or any person who interferes with the carrying out of this chapter shall be upon conviction guilty of a misdemeanor.



17.10.170
Finding presence of noxious weeds—Notice for failure of owner to control—Control by county board—Liability of owner—Lien—Alternative.

(1) Whenever the county noxious weed control board finds that noxious weeds are present on any parcel of land, and that the owner is not taking prompt and sufficient action to control the noxious weeds, pursuant to the provisions of RCW 17.10.140, it shall notify the owner that a violation of this chapter exists. The notice shall be in writing and sent by certified mail, and shall identify the noxious weeds found to be present, order prompt control action, and specify the time, of at least ten days from issuance of the notice, within which the prescribed action must be taken. Upon deposit of the certified letter of notice, the noxious weed control authority shall make an affidavit of mailing that is prima facie evidence that proper notice was given. If seed or other propagule dispersion is imminent, immediate control action may be taken forty-eight hours following the time that notification is reasonably expected to have been received by the owner or agent by certified mail or personal service, instead of ten days. If a landowner received a notice of violation from the county noxious weed control board in a prior growing season, removal or destruction of all above ground plant parts may be required at the most effective point in the growing season, as determined by the county weed board, which may be before or after propagule dispersion.
(2) The county noxious weed control board or its authorized agents may issue a notice of civil infraction as provided for in RCW 17.10.230, 17.10.310, and 17.10.350 to owners who do not take action to control noxious weeds in accordance with the notice.
(3) If the owner does not take action to control the noxious weeds in accordance with the notice, the county board may control them, or cause their being controlled, at the expense of the owner. The amount of the expense constitutes a lien against the property and may be enforced by proceedings on the lien except as provided for by RCW 79.44.060. The owner is liable for payment of the expense, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent collection of any judgment on account thereof by any means available pursuant to law, in substitution for enforcement of the lien. Necessary costs and expenses including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the county noxious weed control board in carrying out this section may be recovered at the same time as a part of the action filed under this section. Funds received in payment for the expense of controlling noxious weeds shall be transferred to the county noxious weed control board to be expended as required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(4) The county auditor shall record in his or her office any lien created under this chapter, and any lien shall bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum from the date on which the county noxious weed control board approves the amount expended in controlling the weeds.
(5) As an alternative to the enforcement of any lien created under subsection (3) of this section, the county legislative authority may by resolution or ordinance require that each lien created be collected by the treasurer in the same manner as a delinquent real property tax, if within thirty days from the date the owner is sent notice of the lien, including the amount thereof, the lien remains unpaid and an appeal has not been made pursuant to RCW 17.10.180. Liens treated as delinquent taxes bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum and the interest accrues as of the date notice of the lien is sent to the owner: PROVIDED, That any collections for the lien shall not be considered as tax.



17.10.180
Hearing on liability for expense of control—Notice—Review.

Any owner, upon request pursuant to the rules and regulation of the county noxious weed control board, is entitled to a hearing before the board on any charge or cost for which the owner is alleged to be liable pursuant to RCW 17.10.170 or 17.10.210. The board shall send notice by certified mail within thirty days, to each owner at the owner's last known address, as to any charge or cost and as to his or her right of a hearing. The hearing shall be scheduled within forty-five days of notification. Any determination or final action by the board is subject to judicial review by a proceeding in the superior court in the county in which the property is located, and the court has original jurisdiction to determine any suit brought by the owner to recover damages allegedly suffered on account of control work negligently performed: PROVIDED, That no stay or injunction shall lie to delay any control work subsequent to notice given pursuant to RCW 17.10.160 or pursuant to an order under RCW 17.10.210.



17.10.190
Notice and information as to noxious weed control.

Each activated county noxious weed control board must publish annually, and at other times as may be appropriate, in at least one newspaper of general circulation within its area, a general notice. The notice shall direct attention to the need for noxious weed control and give other information concerning noxious weed control requirements as may be appropriate, or indicate where such information may be secured. In addition to the general notice required, the county noxious weed control board may use any appropriate media for the dissemination of information to the public as may be calculated to bring the need for noxious weed control to the attention of owners. The board may consult with individual owners concerning their problems of noxious weed control and may provide them with information and advice, including giving specific instructions and methods when and how certain named weeds are to be controlled. The methods may include some combination of physical, mechanical, cultural, chemical, and/or biological methods, including livestock. Publication of a notice as required by this section is not a condition precedent to the enforcement of this chapter.



17.10.201
Noxious weed control on federal and tribal lands—State and county cooperation.

(1) The state noxious weed control board shall:
(a) Work with the various federal and tribal land management agencies to coordinate state and federal noxious weed control;
(b) Encourage the various federal and tribal land management agencies to devote more time and resources to noxious weed control; and
(c) Assist the various federal and tribal land management agencies by seeking adequate funding for noxious weed control.
(2) County noxious weed control boards and weed districts shall work with the various federal and tribal land management agencies in each county in order to:
(a) Identify new noxious weed infestations;
(b) Outline and plan necessary noxious weed control actions;
(c) Develop coordinated noxious weed control programs; and
(d) Notify local federal and tribal agency land managers of noxious weed infestations.
(3) The department of agriculture, county noxious weed control boards, and weed districts are authorized to enter federal lands, with the approval of the appropriate federal agency, to survey for and control noxious weeds where control measures of a type and extent required under this chapter have not been taken.
(4) The department of agriculture, county noxious weed control boards, and weed districts may bill the federal land management agency that manages the land for all costs of the noxious weed control performed on federal land. If not paid by the federal agency that manages the land, the cost of the noxious weed control on federal land may be paid from any funds available to the county noxious weed control board or weed district that performed the noxious weed control. Alternatively, the costs of noxious weed control on federal land may be paid from any funds specifically appropriated to the department of agriculture for that purpose.
(5) The department of agriculture, county noxious weed control boards, and weed districts are authorized to enter into any reasonable agreement with the appropriate authorities for the control of noxious weeds on federal or tribal lands.
(6) The department of agriculture, county noxious weed control boards, and weed districts shall consult with state agencies managing federal land concerning noxious weed infestation and control programs.



17.10.205
Control of noxious weeds in open areas.

Open areas subject to the spread of noxious weeds, including but not limited to subdivisions, school grounds, playgrounds, parks, and rights-of-way shall be subject to regulation by activated county noxious weed control boards in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for all terrestrial and aquatic lands of the state.



17.10.210
Quarantine of land—Order—Expense.

(1) Whenever the director, the county noxious weed control board, or a weed district finds that a parcel of land is so seriously infested with class A or class B noxious weeds that control measures cannot be undertaken thereon without quarantining the land and restricting or denying access thereto or use thereof, the director, the county noxious weed control board, or weed district, with the approval of the director of the department of agriculture, may issue an order for the quarantine and restriction or denial of access or use. Upon issuance of the order, the director, the county noxious weed control board, or the weed district shall commence necessary control measures and may institute legal action for the collection of costs for control work, which may include attorneys' fees and the costs of other appropriate actions.
(2) An order of quarantine shall be served, by any method sufficient for the service of civil process, on all persons known to qualify as owners of the land within the meaning of this chapter.
(3) The director shall, with the advice of the state noxious weed control board, determine how the expense of control work undertaken pursuant to this section, and the cost of any quarantine in connection therewith, is apportioned.



17.10.230
Violations—Penalty.

Any owner knowing of the existence of any noxious weeds on the owner's land who fails to control such weeds in accordance with this chapter and rules and regulations in force pursuant thereto; or any person who enters upon any land in violation of an order in force pursuant to RCW 17.10.210; or any person who interferes with the carrying out of the provisions of this chapter has committed a civil infraction.



17.10.235
Selling product, article, or feed containing noxious weed seeds or toxic weeds—Penalty—Rules—Inspections—Fees.

(1) The director of agriculture shall adopt, with the advice of the state noxious weed control board, rules designating noxious weed seeds which shall be controlled in products, screenings, or articles to prevent the spread of noxious weeds. The rules shall identify the products, screenings, and articles in which the seeds must be controlled and the maximum amount of the seed to be permitted in the product, screenings, or article to avoid a hazard of spreading the noxious weed by seed from the product, screenings, or article. The director shall also adopt, with the advice of the state board, rules designating toxic weeds which shall be controlled in feed stuffs and screenings to prevent injury to the animal that consumes the feed. The rules shall identify the feed stuffs and screenings in which the toxic weeds must be controlled and the maximum amount of the toxic weed to be permitted in the feed. Rules developed under this section shall identify ways that products, screenings, articles, or feed stuffs containing noxious weed seeds or toxic weeds can be made available for beneficial uses.
(2) Any person who knowingly or negligently sells or otherwise distributes a product, article, screenings, or feed stuff designated by rule containing noxious weed seeds or toxic weeds designated for control by rule and in an amount greater than the amount established by the director for the seed or weed by rule is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(3) The department of agriculture shall, upon request of the buyer, inspect products, screenings, articles, or feed stuffs designated by rule and charge fees, in accordance with chapter 22.09 RCW, to determine the presence of designated noxious weed seeds or toxic weeds.



17.10.240
Special assessments, appropriations for noxious weed control—Assessment rates.

(1) The activated county noxious weed control board of each county shall annually submit a budget to the county legislative authority for the operating cost of the county's weed program for the ensuing fiscal year: PROVIDED, That if the board finds the budget approved by the legislative authority is insufficient for an effective county noxious weed control program it shall petition the county legislative authority to hold a hearing as provided in RCW 17.10.890. Control of weeds is a benefit to the lands within any such section. Funding for the budget is derived from any or all of the following:
(a) The county legislative authority may, in lieu of a tax, levy an assessment against the land for this purpose. Prior to the levying of an assessment the county noxious weed control board shall hold a public hearing at which it will gather information to serve as a basis for classification and then classify the lands into suitable classifications, including but not limited to dry lands, range lands, irrigated lands, nonuse lands, forestlands, or federal lands. The board shall develop and forward to the county legislative authority, as a proposed level of assessment for each class, an amount as seems just. The assessment rate shall be either uniform per acre in its respective class or a flat rate per parcel rate plus a uniform rate per acre: PROVIDED, That if no benefits are found to accrue to a class of land, a zero assessment may be levied. The county legislative authority, upon receipt of the proposed levels of assessment from the board, after a hearing, shall accept or modify by resolution, or refer back to the board for its reconsideration all or any portion of the proposed levels of assessment. The amount of the assessment constitutes a lien against the property. The county legislative authority may by resolution or ordinance require that notice of the lien be sent to each owner of property for which the assessment has not been paid by the date it was due and that each lien created be collected by the treasurer in the same manner as delinquent real property tax, if within thirty days from the date the owner is sent notice of the lien, including the amount thereof, the lien remains unpaid and an appeal has not been made pursuant to RCW 17.10.180. Liens treated as delinquent taxes bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum and the interest accrues as of the date notice of the lien is sent to the owner: PROVIDED FURTHER, That any collections for the lien shall not be considered as tax; or
(b) The county legislative authority may appropriate money from the county general fund necessary for the administration of the county noxious weed control program. In addition the county legislative authority may make emergency appropriations as it deems necessary for the implementation of this chapter.
(2) Forestlands used solely for the planting, growing, or harvesting of trees and which are typified, except during a single period of five years following clear-cut logging, by canopies so dense as to prohibit growth of an understory may be subject to an annual noxious weed assessment levied by a county legislative authority that does not exceed one-tenth of the weighted average per acre noxious weed assessment levied on all other lands in unincorporated areas within the county that are subject to the weed assessment. This assessment shall be computed in accordance with the formula in subsection (3) of this section.
(3) The calculation of the "weighted average per acre noxious weed assessment" is a ratio expressed as follows:
(a) The numerator is the total amount of funds estimated to be collected from the per acre assessment on all lands except (i) forestlands as identified in subsection (2) of this section, (ii) lands exempt from the noxious weed assessment, and (iii) lands located in an incorporated area.
(b) The denominator is the total acreage from which funds in (a) of this subsection are collected. For lands of less than one acre in size, the denominator calculation may be based on the following assumptions: (i) Unimproved lands are calculated as being one-half acre in size on the average, and (ii) improved lands are calculated as being one-third acre in size on the average. The county legislative authority may choose to calculate the denominator for lands of less than one acre in size using other assumptions about average parcel size based on local information.
(4) For those counties that levy a per parcel assessment to help fund noxious weed control programs, the per parcel assessment on forestlands as defined in subsection (2) of this section shall not exceed one-tenth of the per parcel assessment on nonforestlands.
NOTES:
Effective date1995 c 374 §§ 69, 70, and 72-79: See note following RCW 16.24.130.



17.10.250
Applications for noxious weed control funds.

The legislative authority of any county with an activated noxious weed control board or the board of any weed district may apply to the director for noxious weed control funds when informed by the director that funds are available. Any applicant must employ adequate administrative personnel to supervise an effective weed control program as determined by the director with advice from the state noxious weed control board. The director with advice from the state noxious weed control board shall adopt rules on the distribution and use of noxious weed control account funds.



17.10.260
Administrative powers to be exercised in conformity with administrative procedure act—Use of weed control substances subject to other acts.

The administrative powers granted under this chapter to the director of the department of agriculture and to the state noxious weed control board shall be exercised in conformity with the provisions of the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW, as now or hereafter amended. The use of any substance to control noxious weeds shall be subject to the provisions of the water pollution control act, chapter 90.48 RCW, as now or hereafter amended, the Washington pesticide control act, chapter 15.58 RCW, and the Washington pesticide application act, chapter 17.21 RCW.



17.10.270
Noxious weed control boards—Authority to obtain insurance or surety bonds.

Each noxious weed control board may obtain such insurance or surety bonds, or both with such limits as they may deem reasonable for the purpose of protecting their officials and employees against liability for personal or bodily injuries and property damage arising from their acts or omissions while performing or in good faith purporting to perform their official duties.



17.10.280
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weeds.

Every activated county noxious weed control board performing labor, furnishing material, or renting, leasing, or otherwise supplying equipment, to be used in the control of noxious weeds, or in causing control of noxious weeds, upon any property pursuant to the provisions of chapter 17.10 RCW has a lien upon such property for the labor performed, material furnished, or equipment supplied whether performed, furnished, or supplied with the consent of the owner, or his or her agent, of such property, or without the consent of said owner or agent.



17.10.290
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weeds—Notice of lien.

Every county noxious weed control board furnishing labor, materials, or supplies or renting, leasing, or otherwise supplying equipment to be used in the control of noxious weeds upon any property pursuant to RCW 17.10.160 and 17.10.170 or pursuant to an order under RCW 17.10.210 as now or hereafter amended, shall give to the owner or reputed owner or his or her agent a notice in writing, within ninety days from the date of the cessation of the performance of such labor, the furnishing of such materials, or the supplying of such equipment, which notice shall cover the labor, material, supplies, or equipment furnished or leased, as well as all subsequent labor, materials, supplies, or equipment furnished or leased, stating in substance and effect that such county noxious weed control board is furnishing or has furnished labor, materials and supplies or equipment for use thereon, with the name of the county noxious weed control board ordering the same, and that a lien may be claimed for all materials and supplies or equipment furnished by such county noxious weed control board for use thereon, which notice shall be given by mailing the same by registered or certified mail in an envelope addressed to the owner at his or her place of residence or reputed residence.



17.10.300
Lien for labor, material, equipment used in controlling noxious weeds—Claim—Filing—Contents.

No lien created by RCW 17.10.280 exists, and no action to enforce the same shall be maintained, unless within ninety days from the date of cessation of the performance of the labor, furnishing of materials, or the supplying of equipment, a claim for the lien is filed for record as provided in this section, in the office of the county auditor of the county in which the property, or some part of the property to be affected by the claim for a lien, is situated. The claim shall state, as nearly as may be, the time of the commencement and cessation of performing the labor, furnishing the material, or supplying the equipment, the name of the county noxious weed control board that performed the labor or caused the labor to be performed, furnished the material, or supplied the equipment, a description of the property to be charged with the lien sufficient for identification, the name of the owner, or reputed owner if known, or his or her agent, and if the owner is not known, that fact shall be mentioned, the amount for which the lien is claimed, and shall be signed by the county noxious weed control board, and be verified by the oath of the county noxious weed control board, to the effect that the affiant believes that claim to be just; and the claim of lien may be amended in case of action brought to foreclose the same, by order of the court, as pleadings may be, insofar as the interest of third parties shall not be affected by such an amendment.



17.10.310
Notice of infraction—Issuance.

The county noxious weed control board may issue a notice of civil infraction if after investigation it has reasonable cause to believe an infraction has been committed. A civil infraction may be issued pursuant to RCW 7.80.005, 7.80.070 through 7.80.110, 7.80.120 (3) and (4), and 7.80.130 through 7.80.900.



17.10.350
Infraction—Penalty.

(1) Any person found to have committed a civil infraction under this chapter shall be assessed a monetary penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars. The state noxious weed control board shall adopt a schedule of monetary penalties for each violation of this chapter classified as a civil infraction and submit the schedule to the appropriate court. If a monetary penalty is imposed by the court, the penalty is immediately due and payable. The court may, at its discretion, grant an extension of time, not to exceed thirty days, in which the penalty must be paid.
(2) Failure to pay any monetary penalties imposed under this chapter is punishable as a misdemeanor.
NOTES:
IntentEffective date2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.



17.10.890
Deactivation of county noxious weed control board—Hearing.

The following procedures shall be followed to deactivate a county noxious weed control board:
(1) The county legislative authority holds a hearing to determine whether there continues to be a need for an activated county noxious weed control board if:
(a) A petition is filed by one hundred registered voters within the county;
(b) A petition is filed by a county noxious weed control board as provided in RCW 17.10.240; or
(c) The county legislative authority passes a motion to hold such a hearing.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, the hearing shall be held within sixty days of final action taken under subsection (1) of this section.
(3) If, after a hearing, the county legislative authority determines that no need exists for a county noxious weed control board, due to the absence of class A or class B noxious weeds designated for control in the region, the county legislative authority shall deactivate the board.
(4) The county legislative authority shall not convene a hearing as provided for in subsection (1) of this section more frequently than once a year.



17.10.900
Weed districts—Continuation—Dissolution—Transfer of assessment funds.

Any weed district formed under chapter 17.04 or 17.06 RCW prior to the enactment of this chapter, continues to operate under the provisions of the chapter under which it was formed: PROVIDED, That if ten percent of the landowners subject to any such weed district, and the county noxious weed control board upon its own motion, petition the county legislative authority for a dissolution of the weed district, the county legislative authority shall provide for an election to be conducted in the same manner as required for the election of directors under the provisions of chapter 17.04 RCW, to determine by majority vote of those casting votes, if the weed district will continue to operate under the chapter it was formed. The land area of any dissolved weed district becomes subject to the provisions of this chapter. Any district assessment funds may be transferred after the dissolution election under contract to the county noxious weed control board to fund the noxious weed control program.
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