On February 23rd the Board of County Commissions unanimously passed County ordinance number 2016-01, declaring certain plant species as County noxious weeds, prohibiting the sale, planting, and possession of any plant on the County noxious weed list, and providing penalties for violations. Plants included on the County noxious weed list include Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata), European or English Yew (Taxus baccata), and Chinese Yew (Taxus chinensis) and their hyrbrids. The ordinance is effective as of March 2, 2016. The full ordinance can be read here.
The ordinance is a response to the fact that during the winter of 2015-16 foraging wildlife consumed toxic yew plants in residential areas, which has led to death of at least twenty elk throughout Blaine County, as confirmed by experts at Idaho Fish and Game Department.
The Board of Blaine County Commissioners finds that toxic yew plants pose an imminent danger of injury to wildlife, and a more broad danger to pets and livestock.
Therefore, eradicating toxic yew plants from residential areas will promote the public health, safety, and welfare.
The Ohio Gulch Transfer Station accepts yew debris free of charge, but the yew must be separate from other yard debris. Please note proper removal includes all traces, no matter how small, of the plant. The Blaine County Noxious Weed Department is available to assist property owners in identifying the plant, and can be contacted at 788-5516.