In February 2016 the Blaine County Board of County Commissions unanimously passed County ordinance number 2016-01, declaring certain plant species as County noxious weeds, prohibiting the sale, planting, and possession of any plant on the County noxious weed list, and providing penalties for violations.
Plants included on the County noxious weed list include Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata), European or English Yew (Taxus baccata), and Chinese Yew (Taxus chinensis) and their hybrids.
Ordinance 2016-01 became effective March 2, 2016.
The ordinance is a response to the fact that during the winter of 2015 and 2016 foraging wildlife consumed toxic yew plants in residential areas, which has led to the death of at least twenty elk throughout Blaine County, as confirmed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The Board of Blaine County Commissioners found that toxic yew plants pose an imminent danger of injury to wildlife and a more broad danger to pets and livestock. Therefore, eradicating toxic yew plants from residential areas will promote the public health, safety, and welfare.
The Ohio Gulch Transfer Station accepts yew debris free of charge, but the yew must be separate from other yard debris.
Please note proper removal includes all traces, no matter how small, of the plant.
On March 22, 2022, Blaine County and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game held a town hall meeting to share information about poisonous yew plants, which have been responsible for killing elk and moose across the Wood River Valley this winter.
The webinar was recorded and can be viewed at this link https://youtu.be/9XCa_3Q8ssc
Yew Species in Idaho and Their Toxicity Risk to Wildlife, Livestock, Pets, and Humans. Yews are very popular in residential and commercial landscapes across Idaho and the US. They are attractive, evergreen shrubs or small trees with bright red, berry-like fruits. They are easy to prune and easy to grow--tolerating shade and a variety of soil types. Many cultivated varieties are available for sale and commonly found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors.Read More
BOISE, Idaho — Homeowner Jerry Smith and Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer Ben Cadwallader watched a mule deer eat from the poisonous yew bush in Smith’s back yard early this month. They followed as the deer ran over a hill.Read More
F&G suggests a list of plants that are alternatives to toxic yew. It was a tough winter for big game as deep snow pushed them to low elevations in search of food. That search was fatal to many animals after eating a toxic plant that is common for ornamental landscaping.Read More
Ten elk died yesterday after eating Japanese Yew in the Hailey Cemetery; later that night a lone cow elk fell in a window well and was trapped in a resident's basement, and other elk continue to be hit and killed on roadways. "It is one of those years, we have a lot of elk and we have our first normal snow levels in the past five years and elk are being pushed into the valley and getting into trouble," said Daryl Meints, Magic Valley Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Manager.Read More