Friday, 03 June 2016 04:21

Noxious & Invasive Weeds

Noxious & Invasive Weed Survey

In 2010, 2011 and 2012 the Elk County Conservation District partnered with the Headwaters Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to conduct noxious and invasive weed surveys. The purpose of the survey is to identify noxious and invasive weeds on private property within the County and to provide landowners the educational tools necessary to help them identify and control these unwanted plants. The program also provides recommendations for ways to enhance wildlife habitat on the property. Where prior programs focused on any private land within the county, the 2012 program focused on properties that had been enrolled in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The surveys focused on the plant species that are identified on the PA lists of noxious and invasive weeds. In 2012, Conservation District staff surveyed 6 properties, which totaled approximately 20 acres. Every property that was surveyed displayed some level of invasive or noxious weed population. Among the most common invasive and noxious plants found were various types of thistles, multi-flora rose, and autumn olive.

  Pictured from top to bottom:
 Garlic Mustard, Knotweed,
 Tree-of-Heaven, Mile-a-Minute

Common Noxious & Invasive Weeds in Pennsylvania:

Common Name:   Scientific Name:
Bull thistle, spear thistle   Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.
Bush Honeysuckle   Caprifoliaceae
Canadian thistle   Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.
Common Reed   Phragmites australis
Garlic Mustard   Alliaria petiolata
Giant hogweed   Heracleum mantegazzianum
Goatsrue   Galega officinalis L.;
Japanese Knotweed   Polgonum cuspidatum
Jimsonweed   Datura stramonium L.
Johnsongrass   Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.
Kudzu-vine   Pueraria montana (Lour.)
Marijuana   Cannabis sativa L.
Mile-a-minute weed   Polygonum perfoliatum L.
Multiflora rose   Rosa multiflora Thunb.
Musk thistle, nodding thistle   Carduus nutans L.
Purple loosestrife   Lythrum salicaria L.1
Reed Canary Grass   Phalaris arundinacea
Shattercane   Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench
Tree-of-Heaven   Ailanthus altissima

Sinnemahoning Invasive Plan Management Area (SIPMA)

In 2012 the Elk County Conservation District entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with and continued to support the Sinnemahoning Invasive Plant Management Area (SIPMA) and their efforts to control invasive plants in Elk and neighboring Counties. Conservation District staff serve on the advisory committee, which includes many private landowners, PA Game Commission, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), Conservation Districts, PA Department of Agriculture, PennDOT, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, US Forest Service, PA Fish & Boat Commission, and many other state and federal agencies as well as various timber management companies. SIPMA is lead by the program coordinator, Tanya Meyer.

The Elk County Conservation District is working closely with SIPMA to bring awareness to a growing buckthorn population in the eastern half of Elk County and in the St. Marys area. Collectively, we’ve met with landowners and have provided them with information about identification, control, and management of buckthorn. The battle with invasive species is ongoing, and we are fortunate to have organizations, such as SIPMA, that are bringing awareness to the public and actively involved in removal of invasive species and re-establishment of native plants. For more information on SIPMA please visit

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Elk County Courthouse
250 Main Street
P.O. Box 448
Ridgway, PA 15853

Elk County Courthouse Annex
300 Center Street
P.O. Box 448
Ridgway, PA 15853