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CWMA Cookbook: A Recipe for Success A Step-by step Guide on How to Develop a Cooperative Weed Management Area in the Eastern United States Ellen Jacquart Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy Kelly Kearns Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Workshop Agenda

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cwma cookbook a recipe for success

CWMA Cookbook: A Recipe for Success

A Step-by step Guide on How to Develop a Cooperative Weed Management Area

in the Eastern United States

Ellen Jacquart

Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Kelly Kearns

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

workshop agenda
Workshop Agenda
  • Welcome & Introductions
  • What is a Cooperative Weed Management Area?
  • Why Form a CWMA?
  • Some Eastern CWMA examples
  • Organizing a CWMA
  • Funding Opportunities and Other Resources
  • Contacts and authorities in Eastern states
  • Questions
what is a cwma

What is a CWMA?

The term CWMA, or Cooperative Weed Management Area, refers to a local organization that integrates all invasive plant management resources across jurisdictional boundaries in order to benefit entire communities.

what is a cwma4
What is a CWMA?
  • Local weed management organization
  • Led by a steering committee
  • Formally organized under agreement
  • Facilitates cooperation and coordination
  • Networks across all jurisdictional boundaries

A CWMA is a formal agreement between parties that can be a

long-term strategy for a long-term problem.

there is no one right way
There is no one right way….

There is no one right way to form a CWMA and no formal certification of such groups. No matter how a partnership was formed or what it is called, it is considered a CWMA if it has all these elements -

  • Local weed management organization
  • Led by a steering committee
  • Formally organized under agreement
  • Facilitates cooperation and coordination
  • Networks across all jurisdictional boundaries
what do cwmas do
What do CWMAs do?

Education – Awareness

what do cwmas do7
What do CWMAs do?


Boot Brush Stations

what do cwmas do8
What do CWMAs do?

Early Detection – Rapid Response

Photos by: Barry A Rice, The Nature Conservancy. Downloaded from:

what do cwmas do9
What do CWMAs do?


Polygonum perfoliatum (mile-a-minute).

Photo by:Britt Slattery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dowloaded from

what do cwmas do10
What do CWMAs do?

Integrated Pest Management

why form a cwma
Why Form a CWMA?
  • They cross boundaries
  • CWMAs allow partners to share and leverage limited resources
  • CWMAs are highly visible
  • Focuses attention
  • Reduces the risk of control efforts
  • Provides an early detection and rapid response network
  • Helps secure funding
why form a cwma12
Why Form a CWMA?

NFWF – Pulling Together Initiative funding





Mean $ per mi^2








Great Plains


New England




some current cwmas in the east
Some Current CWMAs in the East
  • Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (NY)
  • Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (NY)
  • St. Lawrence – E. Lake Ontario WMA (NY)
  • Clay County WMA (MN)
  • River to River WMA (IL)
  • Northwoods WMA (WI)
  • Additional CWMAs forming in Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin
the cwma approach long island invasive species ma
The CWMA ApproachLong Island Invasive Species MA
  • Formed in 2001
  • Along with Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, has served as a model for the St. Lawrence – Eastern Lake Ontario Weed Management Area (SLELO), and additional developing WMAs in NY
long island invasive species ma accomplishments
Long Island Invasive Species MAAccomplishments

Year 1:

  • Strategic plan written
  • List of invasive plant species prepared and categorized
  • Weed Watchers started

Photo from:

long island invasive species ma accomplishments16
Long Island Invasive Species MAAccomplishments

Year 2:

  • Assisted in drafting legislation for Invasive Species Task Force for NY
  • Mapped weeds in 800-acre Pine Barrens Core Preserve
  • NYS Landscape and Nursery Association adopted

Codes of Conduct (for more information, see

  • Wipe out Weeds poster contest in elementary schools
  • Early Detection/Rapid Response carried out on sites of

giant hogweed, black swallow-wort, mile-a-minute vine, and others

  • Researched herbicides for use against black swallow-wort
long island invasive species ma partners
Long Island Invasive Species MAPartners
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • NY State Department of Transportation
  • NY Department of Environmental Conservation
  • NY Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation
  • City of New York Parks & Recreation
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
  • Suffolk County Dept. of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation
  • Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Museums
  • Suffolk County Community College
  • Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center
  • Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association
  • Long Island Central Pine Barrens Commission
  • Open Space Preservation Trust
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • The Nature Conservancy
the cwma approach adirondack park invasive plant program
The CWMA ApproachAdirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
  • Includes 6 million acres of public and private land
  • Large diverse landscapes, intact ecosystems, high quality natural communities
  • Threatened by invasive, non-native plants
  • Coordinates 2 projects:
    • Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project
    • Aquatic Invasive Plant Project
adirondack park invasive plant program
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project – started 1998

Uses volunteers for inventory and control. Inventory efforts concentrate along roadways (likely areas to find invaders) and backcountry areas (sensitive areas)

The Adirondack Nature Conservancy Invasive Species Field Coordinator organizes and supervises work parties to cut, dig, pull or herbicide terrestrial invasive plants

Photos from Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program website:

adirondack park invasive plant program20
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Terrestrial Invasive Plant Project


  • Adirondack Nature Conservancy (ANC)
  • NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA)
  • NYS Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
adirondack park invasive plant program21
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Aquatic Invasive Plant Project

  • Started 2001
  • Adopted a "core-community" strategy to facilitate monitoring and information exchange
  • Provides a focus for volunteer recruitment and support
  • Summarizes and disseminates known distributions of aquatic invasive plants in the Adirondack Park

Map from Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program website:

adirondack park invasive plant program22
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Aquatic Invasive Plant Project


  • Adirondack Park Agency
  • NYS Dept. of Conservation
  • Adirondack Nature Conservancy
  • Franklin County Network of Shoreline Associations
  • Paul Smith College
the cwma approach clay county mn wma
The CWMA ApproachClay County, MN WMA
  • The Clay County Weed Management Area includes Flowing, Keene, Skree, and Elkton Townships in northwest Minnesota.
clay county mn wma goals
Clay County, MN WMA Goals
  • Development of a baseline inventory/GIS spatial dataset
  • Containment and targeted IPM treatments
  • Aggressive treatment of any emerging priority weed threats throughout the county
  • Public education including prevention, reporting emerging problems, and field tours highlighting successful IPM techniques.

Photo by Angela Anderson, Minnesota DNR.

Downloaded from


clay county mn wma
Clay County, MN WMA


  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Concordia College
  • DuPont
  • BASF
  • Dow Chemicals
river to river cwma goals
River to River CWMA Goals

Between 1 Jan 2006 and 30 April 2007:

  • Hire a coordinator
  • Formalize the partnership with a fully executed MOU
  • Provide noxious weed workshop(s) for private landowners, garden/nursery owners, city/county/state Dept. Of Transportation employees, etc.
  • Hold a minimum of 3 public meetings to solicit comments and inform private citizens of the CWMA and its activities
  • Develop a strategic plan for the CWMA to determine long term direction.
  • Identify and seek out available grants and other funding
river to river cwma
River to River CWMA


  • Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Shawnee National Forest
  • Crab Orchard NWR
  • Cypress Creek NWR
  • Illinois Dept. of Transportation
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Southern Illinois University - Center of Ecology
  • Shawnee Resource Conservation & Development Council
the cwma approach northwoods cwma wi
The CWMA ApproachNorthwoods CWMA (WI)
  • History – Several years as larger Northwoods Weed Initiative, a PTI grant for leafy spurge control helped form the CWMA
  • Region – Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, and Iron Counties, far northern WI
northwoods cwma wi
Northwoods CWMA (WI)

Primary Objectives:

  • To prevent new invaders from taking hold in the area
  • To control new and invading species
  • To contain and manage existing populations that have already become established
northwoods cwma wi31
Northwoods CWMA (WI)


  • Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
  • Chequamegon/Nicolet National Forest
  • National Park Service
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas Co. Land Cons. District
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • University of Wisconsin Extension
  • Wisconsin DNR
  • Bad River Chippewa Band
the cwma approach
The CWMA Approach

CWMAs may use different approaches, and have different projects, but they all benefit from the formal partnership provided by a CWMA.

organizing a cwma
Organizing a CWMA
  • Choose an initial leader or champion
  • Find someone who is excited about cooperative weed management to lead the group as it forms
  • Good communicator
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Goals of the CWMA must be their first priority

The CWMA champion should lead only until the CWMA is fully organized and operating. A chairperson and vice-chairperson should then assume leadership responsibilities.

Photo by Ellen Jacquart, The Nature Conservancy

organizing a cwma34
Organizing a CWMA
  • Establish geographic boundaries
  • Political boundaries, e.g. one or several counties
  • Ecological boundaries, e.g. watersheds
  • Consider organizing a large CWMA into smaller administrative subunits such as basins, watersheds, or management zones

The Long Island Invasive Species Management Area is organized according to county boundaries.

Map by Kathy L. Schwager, Invasive Species Specialist

The Nature Conservancy on Long Island

organizing a cwma35
Organizing a CWMA
  • Identify potential partners and begin building support
  • Participation from each major land management entity within the boundaries of the CWMA is critical
  • Involve the following entities if they are available in your CWMA area:
    • County Weed Supervisors
    • Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC&Ds)
    • Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs)
  • Convey the importance to potential partners of using cooperative efforts to address shared problems
organizing a cwma36
Organizing a CWMA
  • Determine common goals
  • Different individuals or groups

in your area may have different

reasons for concerns about

invasive plants

  • A CWMA may form around the common desire to control:
    • a specific species such as garlic mustard
    • a group of invaders such as woody invaders of forests
    • a common concern such as early detection of new invaders

Garlic mustard bloom

Photo by Ellen Jacquart, The Nature Conservancy

Find at least one common concern and focus on it to initiate a CWMA.

organizing a cwma37
Organizing a CWMA
  • Choose a CWMA fiscal manager
    • Need to establish fiscal capabilities

to receive grants

    • Need a federal tax ID number
    • Possibly enlist a county or a Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) as the fiscal manager


Photo by Ellen Jacquart, The Nature Conservancy

organizing a cwma38
Organizing a CWMA
  • Hold a public meeting
  • Invite all partners
  • Invite all major landowners and stakeholders within

your established boundaries

  • Increase participation and support for your CWMA

A successful CWMA includes many agencies and individuals all working towards a common goal.

organizing a cwma39
Organizing a CWMA
  • Establish a steering committee
  • Sets priorities
  • Provides direction
  • Establishes operating procedures
  • Locates opportunities
  • Furthers the common goal of the CWMA

Aquatic Weed Identification Training Workshop, LIISMA, July 2003.

Photo courtesy of Marilyn Jordan, Long Island Invasive Species Management Area.

organizing a cwma40
Organizing a CWMA

The selection of officers for the CWMA should not be as important as overall steering committee activity. The goal is to move from leadership by one person to leadership by the entire steering committee.

8. Select a chairperson and a vice-chairperson

  • Ensures that all committee members have opportunities to participate
  • Should not be domineering
  • Be a good administrator
  • Delegate responsibility for project accountability
  • Should be in position for a minimum of two years
organizing a cwma41
Organizing a CWMA

9.Develop an agreement (see attachments)

  • Identify the partners and their responsibilities
  • Establish the legal authority(s) under which the agreement is made
  • Define the purpose
  • List items of agreement and responsibilities of each partner
  • Describe land area covered under the agreement

The Northwoods CWMA group after signing their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).


Organizinga CWMA

9. Develop an agreement (continued)

The purpose of an agreement is to facilitate cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries and eliminate administrative barriers.

  • Items of agreement should also specify organizational components including:
  • The group of partners (board)
  • Steering committee
  • Strategic plan
  • Annual operating plan
  • Reports
organizing a cwma43
Organizing a CWMA

9. Develop an agreement (continued)

Develop Hold Harmless Agreements (see attachments) -

  • Forms for landowners or agencies to sign to allow others to come on to their property to do control work (look for an example at, CWMA page)
  • Workers, partners and landowners are “held harmless”

in case of any problems arising

  • Allows sharing of workers, equipment, supplies
  • Minimizes bureaucracy
organizing a cwma44
Organizing a CWMA

10. Develop a strategic management plan

  • Clearly define CWMA objectives and priorities in a plan, including:
    • An accurate map of the CWMA
    • An inventory and a map of known priorityinvasive
    • plant infestations
    • Determine management responsibilities including the establishment of management areas or zones
    • Establish criteria for prioritization of invasive plant management activities
    • Identify control techniques and resources available to your CWMA
organizing a cwma45
Organizing a CWMA
  • Develop an annual operating plan
  • Annual projects
  • Expected in-kind contributions
  • Necessary funding
  • Personnel needed
  • Serves as basis for outside

grant requests

Identifies annual priorities and associated work projects.

organizing a cwma46
Organizing a CWMA

12. Establish and utilize standing and

ad hoc committees

  • Increases participation by partners and citizens
  • that are not on the steering committee
  • Broadens the base of ownership inside the
  • community
  • Perform tasks that will give more time for the
  • steering committee to devote toward coordination
  • and administrative duties.
organizing a cwma47
Organizing a CWMA

12. Establish and utilize standing and

ad hoc committees (continued)

  • Standing committees:
      • Long term
      • Work on issues like education,

control, monitoring, etc.

  • Ad hoc committees:

- Temporary

      • Focus on specific projects

Photo by Donna R. Ellis, Univ. of Connecticut, Invasive Plants of the US CD-Rom.

organizing a cwma48
Organizing a CWMA
  • Implement plans


  • Support and promote Invasive Species Awareness events at the state and federal level
    • Many states sponsor “Invasive Species Awareness Month” in June
    • “National Invasive Weed Awareness Week” is held

in late February each year

organizing a cwma49
Organizing a CWMA

Examples of Education Projects:

  • Teach a weed identification class for land owners and land managers
  • Develop educational materials on invasive species for grade school classes in your area
  • Create “Most Wanted” posters

School children dressed as common periwinkle, garlic mustard, and multiflora rose. Photo by Stori Snyder and Stacy Duke, Invasive Species Education Project, Hilltop Garden and Nature Center and Hoosier National Forest.

organizing a cwma50
Organizing a CWMA

13. Implement plans (continued)


  • Boot Brush Stations – placed at entry points to natural areas.

For more information about this project idea, go to and click on Prevention.

  • Be a Good Neighbor – Rid Your Landscaping of Invaders.
organizing a cwma51
Organizing a CWMA

13. Implement plans (cont.)

Early Detection

  • New Invasives Training
  • Weed Watchers Network
  • Rapid Responders Team

Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program,


Organizing a CWMA

13. Implement plans (continued)

  • Control Efforts
  • Invasive Work Party
  • Invasive Control Crew
organizing a cwma53
Organizing a CWMA
  • Implement plans (continued)


      • Monitoring your group’s actions and their

results is important in order to make sure

you are meeting your objectives.

      • Make sure that any project has a monitoring

component so you can show how you have

successfully accomplished your goals to your

partners, donors, and grantors.


Organizing a CWMA

14. Celebrate success and get media attention

  • Utilize media and newsletters to broadcast accomplishments
  • Hold an annual meeting of partners, participants, volunteers, and interested members of the public
  • Prepare and distribute an annual report
  • Give awards to key partners, volunteers, and elected officials
  • Cooperation – more resources, energy, creativity, and problem solving can be realized under the umbrella of a CWMA
  • CWMA serves as the tool to facilitate and empower local citizens
  • Must be flexible
  • Need 3 basic documents:
    • An agreement
    • A strategic plan
    • Annual operating plan

A CWMA can benefit any community – it heightens awareness, increases knowledge, and strengthens relationships.

funding opportunities
Funding Opportunities

National Invasive Species Information Center

Provides a comprehensive gateway to invasive species

information and links to many funding opportunities

such as those listed on the next slide.;


funding opportunities57
Funding Opportunities

Federal Funds –

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation – Pulling Together Initiative.Provides support for the formation of CWMAs.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Private Stewardship Grants.

Provides grants to individuals and groups engaged in conservation efforts that benefit at-risk species.

  • U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Provide funding for a variety of conservation actions.

funding opportunities58
Funding Opportunities
  • State

Though the type and amount of available funding varies greatly, there are a number of federal money pass-through programs (listed below) that funnel money for conservation to states. Depending on your state’s rules and application guidelines, this money may be available for invasive control. See “State Contacts and Authorities” in the CWMA section at for specific authority and contact information for your state.

    • Landowner Incentive Program
    • Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Program
    • State Wildlife Grants
    • State Noxious Weed Program
  • County
    • Soil (Land) and Water Conservation Districts
    • County Weed Supervisors
examples of recently funded projects
Examples of Recently Funded Projects

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Pulling Together

Initiative Grants from 2005:

  • Clay County, Minnesota received $15,000 to start a CWMA focused on IPM

for conserving rare prairie species.

  • Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, NC received $5,000 to start a CWMA in SE North Carolina.
  • The Nature Conservancy received $30,000 to establish a CWMA in Fayette County, Kentucky focused on alien woody plants.

Funding received for the River to River CWMA for various


  • $35,000 from the Shawnee National Forest/Illinois DNR CCS - for a full time River

to River CWMA coordinator.

• $30,000 from Illinois DNR C2000 - grants for private landowners to control invasives

within the Illinois Ozarks region which will be administered by the Shawnee RC&D

River to River coordinator.

• $125,000 from USDA to develop an interactive invasive species website for the River to River CWMA.

• $28,500 from Illinois DNR C2000 - to develop an interactive invasive species website for the River to River CWMA.

other resources
Other Resources

General Invasive Plants Information Sites:

  • National Invasive Species Information Center -
  • Global Invasive Species Initiative -
  • Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) Invasives Prevention -

  • Center for Invasive Plant Management -
other resources61
Other Resources

General Invasive Plants Information Sites (continued):

  • Invasive Exotic Plant Management Tutorial for Natural Lands Managers -;

  • Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States: Identification & Control -
  • Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas -
  • North American Weed Management Association -
regional exotic pest plant councils eppcs
Regional Exotic Pest Plant Councils (EPPCs):
  • Midwest Invasive Plant Network -

(Includes MN, IA, MO, IL, WI, MI, IN, OH)

  • New England Invasive Plant Group -

(Includes, ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, with NY included on the steering committee)

  • Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council –

(Includes DE, MD, PA, NJ, VA, WV, Washington D.C.)

  • Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council -

(Includes FL, TN, NC, SC, GA, KY, MS, AL - all have individual state chapters)

state contacts and authorities
State contacts and authorities
  • Summary sheet handout - “Information on State Invasive Species Laws, Agencies, and Resources”

(The list is also posted in the CWMA section at and you may access Internet links directly using Word)

  • Comments, additions welcome
  • Some examples of state contacts on the next three slides: Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin
  • Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
    • Administers Illinois Exotic Weed Act
    • Unlawful to buy, sell or distribute plants in IL w/o permit from IDNR
    • 10 spp. (six spp. of buckthorns)
  • Illinois Dept. of Agriculture
    • Administers Illinois Noxious Weed Law
    • Requires landowner to eradicate listed noxious weeds (primarily ag weeds, 8 sp)
    • Administers Illinois Seed Law, prohibits sale of noxious weed seeds
  • Other state resources: Illinois Invasive Plant Species Council, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago Wilderness, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
  • County Weed Control Boards
    • Administer Noxious Weed Law (4 species, mainly ag) which requires landowners to eradicate noxious weeds
    • Enforces destruction of detrimental plants (5 species listed)
    • Very few counties have created weed boards; township trustees also have authority to enforce
  • Office of the State Chemist
    • Administers Indiana Seed Law
    • Prohibits sale of noxious weed seeds (8 species listed as prohibited noxious weed seeds, 13 species listed as restricted noxious weed seeds)
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
    • Administers restrictions on purple loosestrife, multiflora rose, Johnson grass
    • Div. of Fish and Wildlife has authority over vertebrates, mussels, and wildlife pathogens
    • Div. of Entomology has authority over invertebrates, pests/pathogens of plants, and species that adversely affect health or environment of IN.
  • Other state resources – IPSAWG, INPAWS, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
  • County and Municipal Weed Commissioners
    • Have the ability to designate new noxious weeds at a local level
    • May enforce noxious weed laws within their boundaries and to classify and regulate all invasive species
    • But they don’t exist for the most part
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    • Has new authority to designate invasive aquatic plants
  • Wisconsin Department of Agriculture
    • Regulates the sale of purple loosestrife and multiflora rose
  • Wisconsin Noxious Weed Law – designates 3 noxious weeds, but no state agency has authority or responsibility for the law
  • Other state resources – IPAW, Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species
  • Will be developing rules to classify and regulate most invasive species