Across the United States, communities are partnering non-profit organizations, universities and local, state, and federal partners to prevent and manage invasive species by organizing Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs). These groups have many names, including Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAS). No matter the name, these are local organizations that bring together landowners and managers to coordinate action and share information that effects all partners.
A CWMA is an informal, voluntary, non-regulatory organization that brings together stakeholders within a similar geographic region to share expertise and resources to manage common invasive species. CWMAs often function under the authority of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or cooperative agreement developed by members and are led by an elected chairperson or steering committee. Together, cooperating partners develop a comprehensive approach to effectively managing species on a regional scale. These regional approaches can be highly developed and include plans for Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) of new species, inventory and mapping of common species, education and training opportunities, monitoring, and habitat restoration following removal activities.
CWMAs and CISMAs typically have five characteristics:
1) A geographic area distinguished by a common geography, invasive species problem, community, climate, political boundary, or land use.
2) Involvement or representation of the majority of landowners or natural resource managers in a defined area.
3) Leadership team or steering committee.
4) A commitment to cooperation against a common issue.
5) Comprehensive plan that addresses the prevention or management of one or more invasive species.
Texas Mid-Coast Tri-County CWMA
Started in October 2013, as the first CWMA in the State of Texas covering three coastal Texas counties: Aransas, Calhoun and Refugio. The CWMA is targeting water hyacinth, giant reed, Chinese tallow tree, Brazilian peppertree, salt cedar and Guineagrass. Contact CWMA.
Texas Gulf Region CWMA
Started in 2014, the City of Port Aransas and initial partners the Texas A&M Forest Service and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center initated one of the first CWMAs in the State of Texas to address Brazilian peppertree along the Texas Gulf coast. Since first identified in 2003, citizen scientists have since reported it occuring over a 385 mile stretach of coastline from Texas City to Brownsville.