Gage County Weed Control report provides scorecard

BEATRICE – Gage County Supervisors Wednesday received an evaluation of the county’s weed control efforts in 2020.  Local county programs are graded by state inspectors from the Nebraska Agriculture Department.

Gage County Weed Control Superintendent Becky Borgmann said the county scored 2,938 points out of a possible 3,400 total the past year. The main area where points were docked was continuing education, with the pandemic hindering in-person attendance at training sessions. County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann says the scoring is a way to assist counties to improve their programs.

"There's no fines, no penalties, nothing that goes along with this. This is kind of a roadmap and a goal for us to go towards."

Borgmann said the major noxious weed issue the county had the past year involved phragmites.  "Last year I found fifteen new spots just in the Filley-Logan Township area."  Those areas are east of Beatrice.

Officials said the presence of the plant in creek bottoms makes it difficult to visually detect, without going onto private property. The Nebraska Weed Control Association says phragmites can crowd out native plants quickly, altering wildlife habitat. Phragmites can spread both by seed dispersal and by vegetative spread. The plant’s rapid growth rate can choke out other vegetation very quickly.