Residents in the Conrich, Dalroy and Balzac areas might see Rocky View County (RVC) crews on the roadsides this summer, as the County conducts annual weed control. “Every year, we target approximately a third of the municipality,” said Jeff Fleischer, Agricultural Services supervisor. “We go out and look for invasive weeds that are in that area.” RVC rotates through its electoral divisions on a three-year cycle, Fleischer said, and this year’s weed control efforts will target Divisions 5 and 7 – including land surrounding Airdrie and north of Chestermere. Crews look for problem weeds, including but not limited to, Canada thistle, nodding thistle, leafy spurge and orange hawkweed. According to Fleischer, if noxious weeds are discovered, the County uses a herbicide to control and prevent them from spreading to neighbouring farmland and acreages. Fleischer said the products used by RVC don’t pose health risks to residents – a fact he is proud of. “All of the products that we use are very low-risk to humans and the environment,” he said. According to Fleischer, the County’s main herbicide product – Milestone – is the first reduced-risk herbicide ever listed by Health Canada. Additionally, all products used by RVC are approved by Health Canada. Noxious weeds can pose significant risk to neighbouring ecosystems and cropland, impacting native species and livestock, according to the County’s website. Fleischer said a strategy of rapid detection and response is easier and less costly for RVC in the long run, and helps prevent the spread of weeds to neighbouring cropland. “These noxious weeds are all plants that are not native to our area,” he said. “They come here without any competition that controls them, so they have the ability to spread quite rapidly.” Residents won’t find the County’s weed control efforts too much of a hassle, according to Fleischer, but motorists should be cautious of the equipment and pass with care, should they encounter it on the roads. Residents can help the County control weeds by reporting any noxious plants through RVC’s online reporting tool, or by calling Agricultural Services at 403-520-1287. Or, residents can opt out of RVC’s weed control program – again by calling Agricultural Services – if they prefer to monitor and spray for weeds themselves. “They can sign up with us and say, ‘We’ll look after the area in front of our ditch,’” Fleischer said. “We plug that into our County’s GIS system and the spray trucks get a warning driving by the property not to spray that area.” For more information about RVC's weed control, visit rockyview.ca and search "weed control."