Cooperative weed management areas

Communities of landowners are joining with local, state, and federal partners to prevent and manage invasive plants and support healthy ecosystems by organizing cooperative weed management areas (CWMAs) across the United States.

CWMAs may have different names in different parts of the country - for example, Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) in New York or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) in Florida.

What's a CWMA?

CWMAs are local organizations that bring together landowners and land managers to coordinate action and share expertise and resources to manage common weed species. CWMAs often function under the authority of a mutually developed Memorandum of Understanding or Cooperative Agreement and are governed by a steering committee. Together, CWMA partners develop a comprehensive weed management plan for their area. At the least, CWMA plans include weed surveying and mapping components as well as plans for integrated weed management. More comprehensive plans may include education and training, early detection of new invaders, monitoring, revegetation, and annual evaluation and adaptation of the weed management plan.

Locally-driven CWMAs are especially effective at generating public interest in weed management and organizing community groups to support on-the-ground programs. In states that do not have a long history in or strong legislative mandate for weed management, newly forming CWMAs are building crucial grassroots support for statewide weed management programming. States that traditionally have organized weed management on jurisdictional boundaries are finding that CWMAs organized by watersheds, for example, provide additional energy and cross-jurisdictional cooperation to augment existing programs.

A Cooperative Weed Management Area is a partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, tribes, individuals, and various interested groups that manage noxious weeds or invasive plants in a defined area.

Five characteristics of a CWMA:

  • Defined geographical area distinguished by a common geography, weed problem, community, climate, political boundary, or land use.
  • Involvement or representation of the majority of landowners and natural resource managers in the defined area.
  • Steering committee.
  • Commitment to cooperation.
  • Comprehensive plan that addresses the management of prevention of one or more noxious weeds or invasive plants.

Where are the CWMAs?

Janet Clark
Center for Invasive Plant Management
February 20, 2009