Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP)
Invasive Species Control Efforts Ramp Up in the GCPEP Landscape
By Vernon Compton, The Longleaf Alliance
Twenty-two partners with the Six Rivers Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) attended a summer meeting of the organization to review control efforts in the landscape and to discuss the Strategic Plan. The CISMA was established in October 2009 to facilitate a network of land managers in addressing the growing threat of invasive non-native species in south Alabama and northwest Florida. This effort was built on the success of the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP). Partners selected formation of a CISMA as a priority for addressing invasive species threats because it provided the ability to work on issues outside the existing partnership boundaries. The year 2017 was a very successful treatment year with 3,734 acres treated across the landscape. The Florida Forest Service is to be congratulated since 2,757 acres of the total treated acres occurred on Blackwater River State Forest. In addition, Samantha Yuan with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Co-Chair of the Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP) attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the role of FISP and support provided to CISMA’s. The remainder of the meeting focused on review and evaluation of the Strategic Plan, highlighting what had been done right, and where opportunities existed for improvement. The partners left with renewed energy for the CISMA and invasive species control efforts moving forward. Highest priority invasive plant control efforts in the GCPEP landscape have centered on cogon grass, Chinese tallow tree, Chinese privet, and Japanese climbing fern.
CISMA Partner Treating Chinese Tallow Tree. Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.