West Central Indiana Cooperative Weed Management Area

A silent enemy is creeping across the landscape in Indiana.  Invasive plants are spreading like wildfire and jeopardizing agricultural and forestry productivity and the natural habitat for trees, wildlife, pollinators as well as damaging recreational opportunities.    An invasive plant is one that has the ability to thrive and spread outside its natural range.  Experts estimate the economic damage caused by invasive plants to exceed 40 billion dollars annually.

The newly formed West Central Indiana Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) has the goal of helping landowners and homeowners win the battle against invasives plants.  The three multi-county Resource Conservation and Development Councils (Hoosier Heartland, Sycamore Trails and Greater Wabash) along with 27 west central Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts led the effort to form the organization.   The group’s basic objective is to provide education and information about plant identification, early detection, damage and control methods.

The CWMA is beginning to conduct workshops, field days and other informational activities to help landowners tackle this invasion challenge.  Over 50 plants in Indiana have been identified as being invasive or of special concern.  Many are still available for sale at nurseries and garden centers.

Most invasives have been brought to the United States from other countries because people thought they would serve special purposes.   An example is Asian Bush Honeysuckle brought from Southeast Asia to provide wildlife food and for landscaping uses.  Bush Honeysuckle is becoming prevalent in many forest areas and when the forest floor is exposed to sunlight from a harvest cut or timber stand improvement a flush of bush honeysuckle is sure to follow.  Studies at Ohio State University show that woodlands infested with the honeysuckle lose about 30% of their timber producing ability.  These plants do not have natural predators and as they thrive and spread they smother out and otherwise reduce the ability of our native trees to reproduce and grow.

Groups such as service clubs, conservation clubs, libraries, homeowner associations, farm bureaus and others can contact Bob Eddleman, Project Director at 317-271-4413 or by email at bobeddleman@sbcglobal.net to arrange informational programs or workshops in their area.