CISMA—Resource Networking to Control Invasive Plants and Animals

Mathew C Lollar, Gabrielle Milch, Dennis Mudge

Abstract


situAtion/objectives:Nonnative invasive species cost land owners and tax payers millions of dollars annually in Florida. Pressure from numerous sources (including agriculture) caused legislation to form CISMAs (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas) to address the problem. The Central Florida CISMA Steering Committee formed in 2008, bringing with it solutions as well as new problems. Extension Agent facilitation and participation began to address the objectives of invasive species management and public perceptions of the Agricultural Community. educAtionAl method: Three County Extension Agents were to join the Steering Committee and do “classic community resource development work” while networking with new audiences to address environmental issues. Results: Public environmental agency staff, private environmental concern groups, leaders from the farm industry, Disney, parks, private landowners, Deseret Ranch, and other interested parties are now networking through cooperative educational programs and addressing serious and potentially confrontational issues in a positive manner. The concerns of the committee have shifted from criticizing agriculture and County Extension Programs, to addressing the issues of invasive exotics on public lands through educational programs and work days. Conclusion: UF/IFAS Extension’s future depends, in part, on networking with environmental issue work groups, which can become challenging. Extension Agents are still best at leading issue-based programming, especially when agriculture is threatened. Multiple CISMA trainings are conducted annually, which provide Pesticide Applicator CEUs. The Central Florida CISMA has been rewarded with numerous grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).


Keywords


nonnative, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283