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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Keith Eisner, PIO, 786-5245

County Weeds Coordinator Wins National Award

Thurston County Weeds Coordinator Rick Johnson has received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Invasive Species Council. The award will be presented to Johnson on Tuesday, March 5, in Arlington, Virginia. According to the council, the award "recognizes outstanding leadership and achievement over the course of a career in research, prevention and control of invasive species."

Johnson, coordinator of the county's Noxious Weed Control Agency for 31 years, has been the lead in a regional, multi-agency effort to remove more than 300,000 pounds of Brazilian elodea from a 67-mile stretch of the Chehalis River. This infestation, which threatens native plant and fish species, has been reduced from a high of 35 acres in 2005 to about an acre to date. Other noxious weeds that have been eradicated or significantly reduced in Thurston County under Johnson's direction include leafy spurge, Spanish broom, giant hogweed, gorse and spotted knapweed.

"I have had the honor of knowing and working alongside him for 24 years," writes Laurel Baldwin, Whatcom County weed coordinator in her letter nominating Johnson, "and I find him remarkably and shockingly tireless in his work to protect the natural resources not only of Thurston County, but well beyond its borders."

More information on the county's noxious weed control program is available at www.co.thurston.wa.us/tcweeds/index.htm or by calling the agency at 786-5576.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3