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Andy Marcum, the new vegetation manager for the Wallowa County Vegetation Department, holds two particularly troublesome noxious weeds found in the county outside his office at the Wallowa County Public Works and Road Department. At left is spotted knapweed and at right is leafy spurge.

Wallowa County has a new head of its Vegetation Department, but Andy Marcum is far from new to Wallowa County. Marcum took over Jan. 1, after seven months as noxious weed supervisor for the county. He replaced Ryan Oberhelman as vegetation manager.

The Enterprise native grew up here. He graduated from Enterprise High School in 2005 and after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps as a canine handler, his goal was to get back home.

“Growing up here, I always had a strong desire to work in agriculture,” he said.

“Experience is my background,” he said. When the Marcums first moved here in early 2017, Andy worked for Wallowa Resources through October 2018 as a Wallowa canyonlands noxious weeds field officer.

At present, Marcum is planning for the coming weed-fighting — or “treatment” — season that starts in April. He’s writing grant applications and working with the Wallowa County Weed Board. The board meets monthly nine months of the year and meetings are open to the public.

He’s also continuing work started by his predecessor, a five-year project to survey for musk thistle in the Upper Wallowa Valley.

Musk thistle (Carduus nutans) is a native plant of Eurasia. It is an introduced species that typically grows in meadows and grasslands, in heavily grazed land in areas such as pastures, and on open disturbed soil such as roadsides and building sites. It spreads rapidly in such areas. Musk thistle is a “B” listed weed, which means that in Wallowa County it is not yet widespread. It’s recommended for biocontrol measures by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Being just a one-man department, Marcum is heavily reliant on the public — particularly landowners — to report any sightings of noxious weeds.

For more information or to report noxious weeds, contact Marcum at the Wallowa County Vegetation Department, 619 Marr Pond Lane in Enterprise; 541-426-4543 ext. 1206; or by email at amarcum@co.wallowa.or.us. Visit the Weed Board’s website at https://tinyurl.com/WallowaWeeds or email Weed Board Chairwoman Theresa Smurget at teresasmergut1@gmail.com.

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