OGDEN — Bounty hunters are out and about in Weber County this year, not for criminals, but for noxious weeds.

Weber's "Bag O' Woad" program started May 8, with nearly 300 bags distributed, and hundreds more are available to be filled with the noxious weed, Dyer's woad.

The Weber Conservation District, in cooperation with Utah State University Extension, is hosting the annual program. It receives support from Weber County, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the Farm Bureau, the Weber River Cooperative Weed Management Area and various cities.

Weber County youth are invited to earn a $10 bounty for each 40-pound bag of Dyer's woad collected and returned. Last year 763 participants collected an impressive 17.3 tons of the weed.

Dyer's woad is classified as a noxious weed in Utah and is a native of southeast Russia. It is thought to have been imported into California in contaminated alfalfa seed and appeared in Brigham City around 1910.

Dyer's woad produces chemicals that inhibit growth in adjacent plants. It has established itself across thousands of acres of Western rangeland, where the BLM estimates that it can reduce grazing by 38 percent.

It is widespread in Weber County, as well as in 24 other counties in the state.

Weber County youths must enroll and obtain official program bags at the Weber County Fairgrounds pavilion on the west side of the Utah State University Extension office on Thursday from 3-6 p.m. For information, call 801-399-8201.