Illinois is home to 105 endangered and 51 threatened animal species and 251 endangered plants. The abundance of invasive plants in Southern Illinois poses a real threat to native plants and wildlife and threatens the natural ecosystem of this beautiful region.

Invasive species are non-native plants that are marked by their ability to spread easily and rapidly, such as English ivy, which grows over native trees, depriving them of sunlight. Invasive species outcompete native flora, degrading habitat and impairing ecosystem functions. To prevent the spread of these invasive species, and to improve the habitat around Southern Illinois, the Shawnee RC&D has become a leader and innovator in invasive species management in the region through their partnership project, the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA).

The River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area was created in 2006, under the umbrella of the Shawnee RC&D, and is a partnership between 12 federal and state agencies, organizations, and universities aimed at coordinating efforts and programs for addressing the threat of invasive plants in Southern Illinois. The CWMA addresses through collaborative projects and activities in these key areas:

  • Education / Public Awareness
  • Early Detection and Rapid Response
  • Prevention
  • Control and Management
  • Research

To learn more about CWMA volunteer opportunities, upcoming workdays or education events, check out the CWMA website here.