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Mary Sue Bowers, natural resources specialist, Coralville Lake, talks to adjacent landowners about oriental bittersweet, an invasive species threatening Iowa’s woodlands.

Mary Sue Bowers, natural resources specialist, Coralville Lake, talks to adjacent landowners about oriental bittersweet, an invasive species threatening Iowa’s woodlands. (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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Posted 7/30/2014

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By Hilary Markin
Rock Island District


In an effort to reduce the impact of invasive species, Coralville Lake was one of the first agencies to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Hawkeye Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) in 2007. This partnership is just one of the ways the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with others to fight invasive species. Since then, the Mississippi River Project has also signed an MOU with them.

The main focus of the Hawkeye CWMA is reducing the impact of invasive species in Eastern Iowa through cooperative education, demonstration and restoration.

“We are working hard to get the word out,” said Mary Sue Bowers, natural resources specialist, Coralville Lake.

Together the group has produced more than 20 brochures on individual invasive species to educate others on how to identify and manage them – and more are in the works. The brochures can be found on Coralville Lake’s website at www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/CoralvilleLake/NaturalResourceManagement/InvasiveSpecies.aspx .

“The brochures have been extremely well received,” said Bowers. “We have a display rack and banner that we put up at events, natural resource meetings and field days. The brochures consolidate information from a variety of sources in a very user friendly way for the public, which was our target audience.”

Together with the Hawkeye CWMA, Coralville has worked to engage adjacent landowners in discussions about invasive species.

“We have held field days with our neighbors to talk about invasive species on Corps lands and on their adjacent lands and strategies to manage them,” said Bowers. “It takes everyone – invasive species don’t recognize jurisdictional boundaries so we need everyone’s help to control them.”

Participating in the Hawkeye CWMA has helped the Corps in other ways too.

“During the meetings I get to talk to others who are working to control invasive species and learn about different pilot programs or new management tools they are testing,” said Bowers.

The Hawkeye CWMA also is working to educate local plant nurseries on invasive species.

“Japanese Barberry is a common landscaping plant that we are starting to see as an escaped invasive in our woodlands,” said Bowers. “We want to educate the nurseries about their spread and hopefully encourage them to do the same to potential buyers or replace their stock with a native shrub like the buffaloberry.”

The Hawkeye Cooperative Weed Management Area is a group of federal, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations and community groups who are interested in combating invasive species in Eastern Iowa. More information can be found at www.HawkeyeCWMA.org.

Contact your regional USACE Invasive Species Leadership Team (ISLT) representative if you have invasive species news from your area.  If you don’t know your regional representative, call Mark Cornish at 309-794-5385.  The ISLT, working together to prepare, prevent, and protect.

invasive species