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Buffelgrass and other Grassy Desert Invaders

Non-native grasses have invaded the delicate balance of the Sonoran desert and fuel extremely hot fires that devastate our native plants and animals, and threaten our homes. Buffelgrass and fountain grass both spread quickly and provide energy for fires to burn hotter and quicker than natural desert vegetation. These grasses also crowd out native plants and the animals that feed on them and could soon turn our beautiful saguaro-filled landscapes into grasslands, unless they are stopped.

Pima County DEQ Buffelgrass Ordinance
Buffelgrass Complaints
Buffelgrass Brochure - Léalo en Español
Fight to Save Saguaros Brochure
Presentation to Environmental Quality Advisory Committee by Travis Bean, University of Arizona (PDF - 8Mb) (PPT - 13Mb)

Frequently Asked Questions about the PDEQ Buffelgrass Ordinance

1. Are there any laws in place to control buffelgrass on private land in unincorporated Pima County?
Yes. In support of regional efforts to eradicate and manage buffelgrass, the Pima County Board of Supervisors adopted changes to the Pima County Code, Title 7, Chapter 33 that identifies buffelgrass as a weed subject to regulation. The Pima County Code allows the County the authority to issue property owners in unincorporated Pima County an Opportunity to Correct, seek a court injunction, or abate the property when buffelgrass poses a significant public safety threat such as fire.

2. How will the enforcement process work?
As per Title 7.33.025, when a hazard exists in unincorporated Pima County, the PDEQ will issue a Notice of Opportunity to Correct (NOC) with a requirement for the property owner to develop and submit an Abatement Plan. An (NOC) will be sent to the property owner which requires:

- Within 30 days, property owner must send written notification to the County that the NOC was received;
- Property owner must develop and submit to the County a written abatement plan within 60 days of receipt of NOC. The abatement plan shall include:

1. Map identifying the property and extent of weed infestation;
2. Description and schedule of management and eradication techniques to be used;
3. Estimated cost to implement abatement plan; and
4. Basis used for the cost estimate.

The County shall approve or deny the abatement plan. If denied, the reasons will be cited in writing. Denial by the County may result in the issuance of a Notice of Abatement. Also, failure to provide adequate information or to respond to the NOC may result in a Notice of Abatement.

3. If a property owner does not respond to the Notice of Opportunity to Correct or the submitted abatement plan is denied, will the county abate the buffelgrass on that property?
As per Title 7.33.030, the County may issue a Notice of Abatement (NOA) which will contain:

- A compliance date (not less than 30 days from NOA) by which the property owner must remove the buffelgrass or else the County will abate it;
- Estimated cost for Pima County to do the work; and
- A notification that if Pima County does the work, a lien can be placed on the property to recover the costs.

The Notice of Abatement is appealable to the Pima County Board of Supervisors within 10 business days. The Board decision is final.

4. Who can I call to report buffelgrass?
You can report buffelgrass on our website from the Buffelgrass Complaint Form or call the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality at (520) 724-7400, if the property is in unincorporated Pima County.

5. How should I dispose of buffelgrass?
Please put buffelgrass in plastic garbage bags prior to disposal to reduce the spread of seeds. In the county, bagged buffelgrass can be disposed of at Tangerine, Sahuarita, and Ajo landfills, as well as Catalina and Ryan Field transfer stations. Standard disposal rates will apply.

For additional information on buffelgrass go to www.buffelgrass.org.


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