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​Spartina Update

Spartina anglica

Class A Noxious Weed – law requires eradication

Spartina anglica is a non-native invasive plant species found in the intertidal zone of North Puget Sound. Referred to as a bioengineer the plant is able to accrete sediments, altering elevation. The result of this increased elevation can be as dramatic as creating a salt march where a mud flat once existed. This can cause major disruptions to native marine habitat.

Intentionally introduced as a shoreline stabilizer in the early 1960’s,Spartina was believed to be sterile. Only after firm establishment was it discovered that Spartina reproduced vegetatively as well as through viable seed production. Drift card studies indicate that Spartina seeds and root fragments quite likely spread from Port Susan Bay to the Hood Canal region and from the Georgia Basin, near Vancouver, BC to North Puget Sound. In 1975, the total infestation of North Puget Sound was estimated to total less than 15 acres. By 1997, there were approximately 430 solid acres of Spartina found in 7 North Puget Sound Counties.

The Island County Noxious Weed Control Board began treating Spartinain 1997. At that time there was more infested acres of Spartina in Island County than in any other county in North Puget Sound. At the height of infestation Island County had approximately 250 solid acres of Spartina, today less then 5 acres remain.

How Can You Help?

Educate Yourself (your neighbors, your friends…)

Learn to Identify Spartina. Inform your neighbors and friends about the problems associated with this species.

Walk the Beach

If you don’t own property along the water, walk your favorite beach, or explore a new one. Look for seedlings as well as clones. Report what you find to the Weed Control Office.


Mechanical control of Spartina using a garden fork or shovel has proven to be incredibly effective. It is very important that care be taken to remove all roots and fragments. Take a bucket and dispose of the plants above the high water mark.


While there are several chemicals that are safe, effective and legal, the application of herbicides to aquatic environments is strictly controlled. Appropriate licenses and permits must be obtained before herbicides may be applied in these environments.

Questions or Concerns?

Please contact the Program Coordinator,

Island County Noxious Weed Control Board.

360.678.7992, or 360.969.3988