Invasive plants can be found throughout the woodlands of Ohio and are a forest health issue that impacts nearly every woodland owner in the state. From multiflora rose to Ailanthus (or tree-of-heaven) to kudzu, the list of non-native invasive plants seems to be ever-growing. These plants don’t recognize political or property boundaries, and don’t discriminate among demographics. Projects designed to control invasive plants, however, are, all too often, limited by these man-made boundaries.

The Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership (AOWCP) is cooperative weed management area (CWMA) that was formed on June 26th, 2012 from the merger and expansion of two CWMAs previously within the area, the Iron Furnace CWMA and the Southeastern Ohio Non-Native Invasive Species Interest Group. A CWMA is a local organization that works to bring together landowners and land managers to share resources and expertise and to coordinate actions to manage invasive plants. There are many CWMAs throughout the nation, including the AOWCP. These groups allow for cooperation across boundaries to develop a regional plan for addressing invasives. They also provide opportunities for education and training, and can assist with regional efforts such as mapping invasive species and detecting new invasives early.

The AOWCP is located in 16 counties of southeastern Ohio: Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. It consists of private landowners as well as local, state, federal, and private agencies and organizations working together to increase the awareness and control of invasive plants at a landscape level. By coordinating the efforts of these various land owners and managers, the AOWCP attempts to cross boundaries and deal with invasive plants at a broader scale.

The goals for the group are to: increase regional awareness of invasive plants, map invasive plant distributions, detect new invasives in early stages of invasion, strategically control invasive plants, obtain grants and funding sources, and to develop a strategic plan for establishing long-term direction and priorities for the group. These goals are accomplished by working with partners to promote land stewardship, conduct research, and exchange information about invasive plants. With an increasing network of partners, the AOWCP is able to pool resources, from a variety of sources, to combat invasive plant problems throughout the AOWCP boundaries.

If you are interested in joining, volunteering, or learning more about  the AOWCP, or would like to know more about invasive plants, contact Eric Boyda at appalachianohioweeds@gmail.com or call 740-534-6578.

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