King County launches new app to fight noxious weeds

King County has deployed a new high-tech tool to help control the spread of noxious weeds.

The app is called "King County Connect" and it allows users to report potentially noxious weeds. They do this by taking the photos of the plants then submit them with information like where and when the weeds are found. There's even a noxious weeds picture library to help people more easily describe and potentially identify these plants.

“It’s good to have these plants reported now when they are small so they are much easier to control. When it’s huge it’s much more problematic,” said Steve Burke, the program manager of King County Noxious Weeds Control Program.

KIRO 7 caught up with him when he came out to a Ballard neighborhood after getting reports of noxious weeds called “Hemlock” growing in a park.

That report came from grandmother and master gardener, Peggy Cooper.

“They look like a nice-looking plant you would never guess it’s dangerous,” said Cooper, who spotted the plant while out playing with her grandson.

According to King County officials, these weeds can be potentially fatal to both humans and animals if ingested in significant amount. They can also cause burns, rash or respiratory problems.

“Some may confuse it as a herb or vegetables. They collect it and eat it and we don’t want folks to do that,” said Burke.

His department said in the last 20 years, they have detected nearly 18,000 infestations of noxious weeds. About half have been eradicated but because seeds can easily spread, it’s crucial for crews to stay on top of where they are growing.

Users can download the King County Connect app from Google Play or the Apple App store and select the "Report Noxious Weeds" button.

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