Southern Colorado group looks for ways to battle tumbleweeds

March 15, 2014 Updated: March 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm
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photo - Top left: Tumbleweeds fill the spaces between cars on David Romero's property Thursday, February 13, 2014. If you ever decide to move to the country, it's a rough life," Romero said. "You always have the elements against you." 

Top right: Tumbleweeds stacked six feet high and ten feet deep press up against a house near Fowler, Colo. Thursday, February 13, 2014.

Bottom left: A tumbleweed hangs in a fence near Boone, Colo. Thursday, February 13, 2014.

Bottom right: An abandoned home near Boone, Colo. is surrounded by tumbleweeds Thursday, February 13, 2014. With drought continuing to plague Colorado, tumbleweeds have begun to bury the Eastern plains of the state leaving some property owners having to pay into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove the weeds. 

Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Top left: Tumbleweeds fill the spaces between cars on David Romero's property Thursday, February 13, 2014. If you ever decide to move to the country, it's a rough life," Romero said. "You always have the elements against you." Top right: Tumbleweeds stacked six feet high and ten feet deep press up against a house near Fowler, Colo. Thursday, February 13, 2014. Bottom left: A tumbleweed hangs in a fence near Boone, Colo. Thursday, February 13, 2014. Bottom right: An abandoned home near Boone, Colo. is surrounded by tumbleweeds Thursday, February 13, 2014. With drought continuing to plague Colorado, tumbleweeds have begun to bury the Eastern plains of the state leaving some property owners having to pay into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove the weeds. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette 

The battle against tumbleweeds may have to be waged without the state's help.

So far, Colorado officials say they have no resources to help southeast Colorado counties combat the explosion of tumbleweeds sparked by drought.

"They're still looking, but they really don't have any resources to help out," said Cathy Garcia, president of Action 22, a lobbying group that represents a 22-county region of southern Colorado.

About the only way a county can get state government help, she said, is if it declares the tumbleweed problem an emergency situation.

At a meeting set for Tuesday in Pueblo, representatives from counties, cities and organizations affected by the tumbleweed issue will discuss alternatives, Garcia said.

Among considerations, the group will look at pooling resources to buy equipment, Garcia said.

"That's what has been suggested," she said.

Other things the group will consider include sharing equipment, getting fire departments to hold controlled burns and whether the Legislature should categorize drought as a disaster, which could free up state funding.

Crowley County, which has been among counties hardest hit by tumbleweeds, has its removal device, called the "Tumbleweed Machine."

There is also a device called TumbleGator, made by a company called TumbleGator Inc.

And New Mexico State University faculty and students are designing a device at its Advanced Manufacturing center "that will get rid of the pesky tumbleweed quickly and effectively," according to a video of the project.

Representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation might attend Tuesday's meeting, Garcia said.

"We hope to have several city and county elected officials," she said. "There are problems in El Paso County. There are problems in all of the southeast Colorado counties. There are about 10 counties in need of some kind of solution."

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