What is a CWMA?

(excerpt from the Midwest Invasive Plant Network CWMA Cookbook) Cooperative Weed Management Areas, or CWMAs, are local organizations that integrate all invasive plant management resources across jurisdictional boundaries in order to benefit entire communities. This is a new approach to invasive plant management that was developed by our neighbors in the West to combat common invasive plant problems.

Many western CWMAs were started by local citizens, city, county, state, tribal, and federal leaders to more effectively control invasive plants across property ownership boundaries. Many local communities have established informal partnerships to work together with others in combating invasive plants. Informal partnerships have accomplished great things in many areas, but the formal agreement created during the formation of a Cooperative Weed Management Area establishes a long-term relationship that will not disappear after a joint project is completed. This formal agreement creates a mechanism for ongoing resource-sharing and collaboration that can be a highly effective long-term strategy for dealing with a long-term problem.

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 the following elements: 1) is a local weed management organization 2) is led by steering committee 3) is formally organized under an agreement 4) facilitates cooperation and coordination and 5) networks across all jurisdictional boundaries.