By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391
If you’ve been fighting invasive plants in your woodlands, you may have wondered if there were any groups in your area to support weed management. The short answer? Probably!
Wisconsin currently has 14 different Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, or CISMAs. These regional county groups bring together community members to work on various invasive species-related projects ranging from fieldwork outings to controlling and monitoring invasive plant occurrences to education and outreach events so more local citizens can learn about and get involved with invasive plant management.
While they all serve similar purposes, CISMAs can vary in size. Some, such as Door County Invasive Species Team or Monroe County Invasive Species Working Group, consist of only one county. Others, such as the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium or Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area, comprise multiple counties, ranging from three to eight.
CISMAs work on various invasive species-related issues; they are a wealth of knowledge and an invaluable resource in your community. Some groups have tool-share programs so landowners can borrow the proper tools to manage invasive plants. Most CISMAs have monthly or quarterly meetings, bringing members together to discuss issues, share new management techniques and collaborate on events.
Often, CISMAs can serve as a partner for landowners who are interested in applying for and receiving grant funding. This is true of the Weed Management Area-Private Forest Grant Program. Many repeat recipients are CISMAs or related Weed Management Groups, which serve as responsible fiscal parties and/or coordinators for several landowners.
Whether you are ready to apply for a grant for management funds, are eager to take on a leadership role in invasive management in your county or are just dipping your toes into the field of invasive plants, joining your local CISMA is an excellent next step.
To find the CISMA that covers your county, visit the Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin website for a map of current groups and contact information for each.
If your county doesn’t have a CISMA yet, consider starting one. For resources on developing a new CISMA or Cooperative Weed Management Area, visit the Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s webpage and check out the cookbook section.