Invasive weeds pose a grave threat to ecological health and economic vitality of vast areas of the West. Experts estimate there are 70 million acres with invasive weeds in 11 western states. Noxious plants are spreading rapidly, invading 4,600 acres of public land per day—the equivalent of more than 4,500 football fields!
Weed problems include: 1) more frequent fires, making it difficult for shrubs to establish themselves, 2) heavy water use, which can displace native plants and deplete surface and underground water, 3) reduction in grazing capacities by up to 90 percent, and 4) disruption of wildlife and birds as alien weeds replace food plants, breeding, and nesting areas.
In 2002, private landowners from Owyhee and Malheur Counties, representatives from USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Oregon Department of Transportation, Owyhee and Malheur County Weed Superintendents, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Department of Lands, and the Idaho Department of Agriculture met to discuss the region’s weed problem. The group decided to form a cooperative weed management area (CWMA), pooling expertise and resources to turn back the invasion of harmful weeds and to protect the region’s ecological and economic health. The Jordan Valley CWMA covers the Southwest corner of Owyhee County in Idaho and about three million acres from the Nevada border north to Malheur County in Oregon.
The partnership provides information and shares technology with members and the general public about the noxious weed problem in the two counties. It pools labor, funds, and equipment to educate, A contractor treating leafy spurge in Owyhee County in the Jordan Valley Coop Weed Management Area.inventory, control, monitor, and prevent the establishment and spread of key noxious weeds across jurisdictional and ownership boundaries.