The King County Noxious Weed Board voted down the proposed listing of English Holly as a Noxious Weed because of potential impacts to commercial holly production (even though the proposal excluded commercial holly cultivation). Now, state legislators are advocating for the interests of commercial holly growers with two new bills, both of which are already out of committee.
They are proposed amendments to RCW 17.10, and they are dirty pool on the part of the commercial holly growers. The Senate bill would explicitly exempt English Holly from future consideration or require that additional data from scientific sources be provided in order to have a previous proposal reconsidered. The House bill would require additional scientific data for reconsideration.
The commercial growers do not need this to stay in business. The King County Noxious Weed Board has already cut them enough slack in our county.
I personally have no problem with the commercial cultivation of English Holly, so long as it is grown in a controlled setting. The control is crucial and must be enforced.
Those of us who volunteer our time in Seattle’s natural areas, and those who are paid to do so by the governing agencies, have found liberating our public lands from this invasive weed to be difficult in the extreme and therefore costly. It spreads by suckers and by seeds and grows in sensitive riparian areas and everywhere else. Birds eat the seeds and spread them even further afield. This gives an aura of futility to our restoration work, doesn’t it?
Please help stop this near-sighted bill from becoming a damaging law! Contact your representatives today. The format is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our forests will thank you!