Jim Caswell, head of Idaho’s office of species conservation, brought a big vase of what looked like colorful flowers with him to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning – but it was actually plastic reproductions of various noxious weeds that are found in Idaho.
“This is star thistle, knapweed, dalmation toadflax, leafy spurge,” Caswell said, pointing out the leafy blooms.
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s recommended budget for Caswell’s agency includes $82,900 to add a state invasive species coordinator to implement a new plan for keeping all invasive species out of Idaho. But tight-fisted budget panel members wondered whether there was money to add the position next year.
“I think there is doubt, but it’s an important opportunity,” Caswell said, fingering a bright plastic flower. “This stuff is really damaging. It costs big money once it’s loose.”