Warren, J.1; VanParreren, S.2; Leonard, E.3
1County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Woodbine, GA, 31569
2Biologist II / Stewardship Coordinator, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Sapelo Island, GA 31327, no state given,  
3Wildlife Biologist II, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Brunswick, GA 31520, no state given,  


Coastal Georgia contains ecologically rare and valuable habitat along 100 miles of coastline.  It includes habitats such as maritime and pine forests as well as estuarine and freshwater habitats.  Invasive species have had an impact in the coastal area for many decades and significant effort has been exerted to manage them and eradicate if possible. In March of 2012, the Coastal Georgia Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CoGA CISMA) was established to work across Federal, State, Local, and private lands for invasive species management. The CISMA covers 11 counties and includes approximately 3,900,000 acres.  This area also contains two major ports with close proximity to a third in Florida.  By focusing on the ecologically significant coastal landscape, this CISMA strives to manage invasive species more effectively and increase early detection and rapid response efforts through diverse partnerships and innovative outreach efforts.  Our innovative projects such as invasive species playing cards, billboards, and film festivals have reached nontraditional audiences.  Several creative partnerships have also allowed us the benefit from the intern labor force to help us with intensive treatment methods such as the hack-and-squirt treatment of trees and by increasing our education and outreach efforts.  These factors as well as our status as one of four states in the nation without a noxious weed list, make invasive species a chronic and pressing issue.  While growing and learning, this CISMA is working to affect positive change in invasive species management to protect our valuable and sensitive coastal ecology.

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