Thursday, October 13, 2011

Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership Helps Communities with Invasive Plants

Original article found at: http://triblocal.com/glencoe/community/stories/2011/10/northeast-illinois-invasive-plant-partnership-helps-communities-with-invasive-plants/



Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership Helps Communities with Invasive Plants

By Cathy McGlynn

Regional Invasive Plant Organization Celebrates Anniversary

Glencoe, IL (October 11, 2011) – A newly established regional organization recently celebrated its one year anniversary. Partners in the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) prevent and detect new invasions, control and manage existing invasive plants, and educate people about how to reduce intentional introductions and unintentional transport of invasive plants. The first annual meeting took place in September at the Morton Arboretum.
“NIIPP has fostered collaborations among organizations that have not worked together before and will continue to develop relationships that will promote control and management of invasive plants on both sides of property boundaries.” Cathy McGlynn, Coordinator, Northeast Illinois Invasive Plants Partnership

At the meeting, Illinois Department of Transportation District 1 presented its plan for coordinated control and management of invasive plants in rights of way and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources provided information about its new Conservation Corps. These and additional presentations can be found at http://niipp.net/?page_id=1315
NIIPP works in conjunction with the New Invaders Watch Program (NIWP), an early detection and rapid response program that trains natural areas managers, volunteer stewards, and other interested people to identify twenty-one invasive plants that are currently rare in this region (www.NewInvaders.org). Many of these trainees register to become monitors for NIWP and report populations of new invaders so that landowners can be made aware of potential invaders in the vicinity of their properties. Since the beginning of this program in 2003 more than 1500 people have been trained. NIIPP also works with River to River CWMA (www.rtrcwma.org) to send out statewide alerts about the arrival of new invaders and most recently sent out an alert about Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), a recent arrival to the Northeastern Illinois region http://www.niipp.net/uploads/stiltgrass_alert.pdf.

In addition to NIWP trainings in the natural resource community, NIIPP is collaborating on several outreach and education programs about more established invaders as well as aquatic and ornamental invasive species. In May of this year 18 NIIPP partners organized more than 31 garlic mustard pulls as part of the US Forest Service Garlic Mustard Challenge and handily won the challenge by pulling 52,000 lbs. of garlic mustard and raising public awareness about invasive plants during Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month. In addition, IL-IN Sea Grant and NIIPP are working to develop and establish a statewide Clean Boats, Clean Waters program (http://niipp.net/?page_id=1176) that educates boaters, anglers, and recreational watercraft users about aquatic invasive species and how not unintentionally transport them from water body to water body. The Midwest Invasive Plant Network, Chicago Botanic Garden, The Nature Conservancy, Chicago Department of the Environment, and NIIPP are collaborating on an education and outreach campaign about intentional introductions of ornamental plants that have the potential to escape from landscaped areas and invade natural areas. Our target audience is green industry (garden centers and nurseries) and its consumers. Development of the program will begin this fall.

The Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership intends to work toward the prevention and control of new plant invasions, control and manage current invasions, support informed management decisions, and raise public awareness concerning the threat posed by invasive plants. NIIPP’s goal is to minimize the adverse impacts invasive plants have on our open lands and waters in northeast Illinois, especially on native habitats and their native plants and wildlife. NIIPP is poised to expand the reach of its efforts in the coming year, bringing a regional plan to fruition.

Eight years ago the idea of a regional cooperative weed management area started to take form in the minds of natural areas managers in Northeast Illinois. In 2010, as a result of federal funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership (NIIPP) began, turning a regional coordinated effort to address the issue of invasive plants into a reality. The plan for regional cooperative weed management areas (CWMAs) first began in the Western United States. CWMAs are local organizations that integrate all invasive plant management resources across jurisdictional boundaries in order to benefit entire communities. In the case of NIIPP, our partners are all interested landowners, land managers (private, city, county, state, and federal), non-profits, private entities, industry, special districts, and the public in the Northeast Illinois. During the past year we have been joined by 46 partners including the United States Forest Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Transportation District 1, Fermilab Natural Areas, Forest Preserve Districts of Boone County, DuPage County, Kendall County, Lake County, Will County, and Winnebago County; Villages of Algonquin, Lincolnshire, and Glenview; Midwest Groundcovers, LLC., Integrated Lakes Management, and Tallgrass Restoration. These and many other partners have been instrumental in our success this year. They have controlled and managed thousands of acres of invasive plants and restored many native habitats. And they will continue their efforts to protect and preserve native biodiversity and habitats.To learn more about NIIPP please visit our website at http://www.niipp.net.
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