Weed Warriors

Man holding a bundle of goathead weeds

Invasive species are a problem for everyone.

Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native to the ecosystem under consideration, and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Unfortunately, invasive plant species are common and abundant in Idaho. These invaders threaten wildlife habitat, watershed health, agricultural commodities, recreational opportunities and increase the risk of wildfire to our communities.

Goathead Removal

Woman pulling weeds

How can I help?

Become a Certified Weed Warrior

Weed Warriors are volunteers who work independently on City of Boise properties to manually remove invasive plants. This is a great opportunity for volunteers with an aptitude for plant identification and a willingness to work independently and on your own schedule.

All Weed Warriors must:

  1. Attend a City of Boise training session on invasive place identification. Training has completed for the 2021 season. If you did not make the training, email Martha Brabec and she will work with you directly.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to identify the target invasive plants and an understanding of the desired removal techniques.
  3. Receive certification/approval from the City of Boise to remove invasive plants from our properties.

Once certified, Weed Warriors can go out on their own time to any of the designated locations to manage the invasive plants present. Certified Weed Warriors can supervise their family unit or a friend (social distanced of course) to assist tackling the invasive plants.

Weed Warriors are expected to visit properties at least 2 times per month during the growing season (April to mid-October) with each visit being a minimum of 30 minutes. Warriors can choose a single property to focus on or go to several throughout the season.

We currently invite Weed Warriors to work at these locations:

  • Chief Eagle Eye Reserve
  • Hulls Gulch Reserve
  • Hyatt Hidden Lakes
  • Military Reserve
  • Any pre-approved reserve location of your choosing

Anyone interested should have basic experience with plant identification and be comfortable working in the sagebrush steppe without City of Boise staff present.

The plants we will focus on are treatable and/or newly detected invasive/noxious weeds to include scotch thistle, bull thistle, diffuse or spotted knapweed, goatheads, poison hemlock, dalmatian toadflax, salt cedar, Russian olive and more.

Sign Up

Group of people standing on a trail holding trash bags

Join a Weed Warrior Workday

Want to help without becoming a Weed Warrior? We offer Group Weed Warrior Workdays throughout the spring/summer/fall on City of Boise open space reserves — no advanced training required. These NNI management events are one to two-hours, led by Parks staff, and a great way to start learning how to identify and remove NNIs in the Boise area.

Interested in joining a Group Weed Warrior Workday? Please check out our upcoming events.

Upcoming events

Two people standing on a trail holding a bundle of weeds

Adopt-a-Habitat Program

The Adopt-a-Habitat program is an environmental stewardship opportunity for individuals, families, groups or businesses interested in preserving wildlife habitat in Boise. If you are interested taking your passion for invasive species removal to the next level, consider adopting a habitat and participating in the full cycle of ecological restoration.

Adopt-a-Habitat

Goatheads

Goathead plant with both flower and seeds attached

Goathead Removal

Most Idahoans have had a personal experience with goatheads or puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris), either in a beloved pet’s foot or a deflated bicycle tire. The City of Boise is teaming up Boise Goathead Festival to eradicate the evil goathead from the streets of Boise. You can help by learning how to properly identify and remove goatheads wherever they are found.

Boise Goathead Festival

In this video, Boise Parks and Recreation Ecologist Martha Brabec shows you how to properly remove and dispose of a goathead.

Goathead seedling hand-pulled shortly after germination in mid-May

How to properly remove goatheads:

SUPPLIES

  • Gloves
  • Heavy duty trash bag
  • Weeding implement such as a trowel, hori hori knife, dandelion digger, etc.

STEPS

  • Learn to properly identify the plant.
  • It is best to pull goatheads before any flowers have formed – starting in mid-May. See a photo to the right of newly germinated goathead plant.
  • Pull from the center and remove the entire plan and its taproot.
  • Carefully put the entire plant into a garbage bag if seeds have formed.
  • Check the ground for loose goatheads. Sweeping or patting the ground with your hands is a good way to pick up any rogue goatheads.
  • Seal/tie the bag and ensure that goatheads will not fall out during transportation.
  • Check your shoes and bike tires to make sure you're not spreading goatheads to a new location
  • Do not throw goathead plants into your compost bin.

If you come across a large population of goatheads, please report the location to Ada County Weed Control.

Want to learn more about invasive species?

In the Resources section of the site, there is general information about invasive species common to the Boise area and an overview of how to manage invasive plants. It is our hope that this website will help you join the growing team of "Weed Warriors" in Boise, Idaho.

Resources

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