It is a partnership between 12 federal and state agencies, organizations, and universities aimed at coordinating efforts and programs for addressing the threat of invasive plants.
An invasive plant is one that is not native to the area, but has been introduced and is causing damage to the natural environment. Since these plants are in a new environment, free from the natural predators, parasites, or competitors of their native habitats, they often have very high population sizes. These large populations can out-compete and displace native species, or can reduce wildlife food and habitat. Some species can also disrupt vital ecosystem functions. Other invasive plants cause massive amounts of economic damage to agriculture. They can harm or kill crops, clog equipment, and contaminate produce. Some invasive plants can even cause direct harm to humans or domestic animals.
All of the 11 southernmost counties of Illinois are with in the CWMA area, from “river to river.” This area is unique in Illinois for its hills, bluffs, barrens, lakes, rivers, and extensive forests. It is known for its rich natural resources, recreational opportunities, aesthetic beauty, and bountiful wildlife. Invasive plants are a serious threat to all of these.
Yes, the agencies and organizations involved are actively managing invasive plants, but through the CWMA our efforts can become coordinated. It allows us to improve effectiveness and efficiency of management activities, manage across jurisdictional boundaries, pool available resources, and prioritize issues.