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How do we fight a “biological wildfire”—the spread of noxious weeds?
We are currently losing ground. This is made evident by the economic
assessment that was prepared concurrently with this strategic plan, which
documents $83 million in annual losses from just 21 of Oregon’s 99 listed
noxious weeds.

This situation threatens to deteriorate further. Support for noxious weed
control programs has declined dramatically in the last decade, although
there has been an encouraging turnaround at the state and federal levels in
the last few years.

The stakeholders that contributed to this strategic plan identified the
actions that need to be taken in the future. They are summarized in the
objectives and strategies section of this document. Finding additional
resources in a time of tight budgets was identified repeatedly as our
greatest challenge. Hopefully, the discussion of alternative funding
sources will stimulate thought on how support for weed control programs
can be linked to activities that cause weed introduction and dispersal. We
desperately need this connection; without it, the explosion of problems
will continue to outstrip available resources.

Finally, it is essential for all of us to realize that the war on weeds is not
lost. Noxious weeds have invaded many parts of Oregon, but large tracts
remain that are healthy and free from invasive noxious weeds. Our
challenge is to focus our efforts to protect Oregon from new invasions,
and to lessen the impact of weeds already established. This strategic plan
outlines priorities for a strong and cohesive approach to noxious weed
control. Containing a “biological wildfire” is a difficult task, but it can be
done. It is important that we be successful in this effort in order to protect
the economy and environment that makes Oregon so unique.