National Military Fish & Wildlife Association

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The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce headed by Dr. Lester Spell has organized an official signing of a Memorandum of Agreement establishing a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) on 14 October 2008. The CWMA is a joint effort to cooperate in the fight against invasive weeds and find funding to extend the efforts of state and federal agencies to the 80% of the state owned by private landowners. It will be a major step forward just to "provide a cohesive mechanism to plan, fund and manage programs" with pooled efforts to research, educate, control, and eradicate.

Signers are expected to include NAS Meridian, NCBC Gulfport, Keesler AFB, Columbus AFB, Camp Shelby, Camp McCain, US Army Corps of Engineers Research & Development Center, USFWS, USDA NRCS, 3 National Forests, USDOT, TVA, TNC and 50 or 60 other state and federal agencies, conservation and agriculture groups, power and gas pipeline companies. CWMA's are common in the west but this is the first in the east, we think. The effort to draft the agreement began as a project within the Mississippi Exotic Pest Plant Council (MS-EPPC) and follows on the success of the Mississippi Cogongrass Task Force.

Actual articles will be forthcoming after October 14. Military natural resources managers may want to start or join in similar efforts to ensure entire states are pulling together for invasive control outside and inside the installation fence. Copies of the agreement are available from james.f.copeland@navy.mil.