Non-native invasive plants, like Kudzu pictured to the left, threaten ecosystem stability by outcompeting native species, creating dense monocultures, and reducing habitat for native wildlife.
Invasive's often take over disturbed areas first, such as places affected by gas and oil drilling operations, roadsides, and wind farms. Once established, they spread into neighboring habitats wreaking havoc on natural ecosystems.
We're sure that you have experienced "no-move firewood" laws. Invasive insects have plagued forests and agricultural environments costing billions of dollars in economic damage. Species such as Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moths, and Japanese Beetles have exploded in population requiring state departments to implement control and quarantine procedures to slow the spread of these dangerous species.
Did you know that there were invasive Microbes? Likely not, but you may recognize a few such as West Nile Virus, Zika, and Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). These are just some of the invasive microbes that affect animals. Plants are also affected by invasive microbes including Sudden Oak Death, Chestnut Blight, and Dogwood Anthracnose among many others! These infections and deadly pathogens threaten human health and directly affect the biodiversity of our ecosystems.
A Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) is a local partnership of stakeholders who combine resources to manage noxious and invasive weeds across land ownerships using integrated pest management practices and customized approaches in a defined geographic focus area. By combining resources, stakeholders can have a tremendous impact on invasive species in the selected management area. Natural Biodiversity currently coordinates two CWMA's in Pennsylvania and is working with partners in other watersheds to establish CWMA's throughout the country.
The Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin CWMA was established in 2002 by Natural Biodiversity and a variety of partners including the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and local watershed organizations. The Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin drains an area of 1,887 square miles from the highest mountain ridges in Pennsylvania through some of the state's deepest river gorges.
Established in 2008, the Juniata Cooperative Weed Management Area (JCWMA), covers approximately 3400 sq. miles and is the second largest tributary of the Susquehanna River. The JCWMA was formed in partnership with the Juniata Clean Water Partnership and is comprised of various partners including PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and others.