Foster Creek Conservation District to establish a Cooperative Weed Management Area for Douglas County

By Aaron Rosenblum
Foster Creek Conservation District

Great news folks! The Foster Creek Conservation District (FCCD) is launching a new program to establish a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) for Douglas County.

The goal of this program is to improve invasive weed species management countywide through increased cooperation between landowners and other stakeholders, increased project funding, and enhanced education and outreach efforts. CWMAs are established across the U.S. and can be defined as “partnerships of federal, state, and local government agencies, tribes, individuals, and various interested groups that manage invasive weeds within a defined area.”

CWMAs are non-regulatory entities that work in coordination with existing groups including, in our case, the Douglas County Weed Management Task Force.

A defining characteristic of all CWMAs is that participating members commit to cooperatively combat invasive weeds across jurisdictional/landownership boundaries. This is very important because, of course, invasive weeds know no boundaries. The improved coordination and cooperation of public and private landowners will benefit weed management efforts in Douglas County. Several local, state and federal agencies operating in Douglas County have already committed to be a part of the CWMA, and private landowners are encouraged to participate as well.

A key step in the establishment of a Cooperative Weed Management Area is the formation of a steering committee. The steering committee will initially meet quarterly to develop a countywide weed management plan for the CWMA. The plan will identify current known weed species within the county, anticipated future invaders, and identify associated integrated pest management techniques and resources for each weed species.

The plan will also establish program priorities and challenges, specific weed management or eradication projects, and criteria for project prioritization. Other topics to be discussed and developed by the steering committee for inclusion in the plan are the inventory and mapping of weed infestations countywide, securing funding for individual projects and future CWMA administration, and plans to provide informative, targeted education and outreach materials.

This new program also includes funding to immediately start controlling specific invasive weed species with Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) methods. The EDRR approach aims to find and treat new weed invaders to Douglas County before they become widely established and problematic. Dalmatian toadflax is a great example of a widely established weed that affects many landowners in Douglas County.

The six initial Early Detection Rapid Response species for the Douglas County Cooperative Weed Management Area are rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea), yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale), spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos), Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

If you believe you have one or more of these weeds on your land please contact me at (509) 423-5990 or at arosenblum@fostercreekcd.org; or contact Dale Whaley with the WSU Extension at 745-8531, ext. 6352. To help with identification, a series of “New Weeds to Watch for in Douglas County” articles will be published in the Empire Press throughout the summer.

FCCD is planning on hosting a Douglas County Cooperative Weed Management Area kickoff meeting in July (pesticide credits will be applied for). Stay tuned for an exact date. If you would like to attend the kickoff meeting, contact the FCCD at 888-6372. More information can be found on the FCCD website at fostercreekcd.org/programs/douglas-county-cooperative-weed-management-area/.

 

Aaron Rosenblum is the natural resource specialist for the Foster Creek Conservation District.