The Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for the Sagebrush Biome represents the culmination of an unprecedented four-year collaboration among state and federal agencies investigating the threats of invasive plants to the sagebrush biome. The strategic plan identifies opportunities to overcome these threats through messaging, collaboration, prioritization, data sharing and increasing capacity to effectively implement cutting-edge, scientifically based management approaches across the Western landscape.

Each landowner, organization, and agency involved in the conservation of the sagebrush biome recognizes the important economic, environmental, and cultural values that are at risk from invasions of harmful exotic plant species. The ravages of wildfire in these Western landscapes are driven by these invasions, particularly invasive plants that increase wildfire frequency and intensity like cheatgrass. These invasions often result in declining private property values, economic losses due to reduced land productivity and health, and drastic changes in local community lifestyles. Moreover, the complexity of the invasive species problem is exacerbated by expanding drought and development.

Stakeholders across this landscape came together with a common vision, based on common concerns about the risk of invasive species, and on the necessary actions that have the potential to strategically halt or reverse the onslaught from these exotic invaders. This Strategic Action Plan applies broadly and at all levels.

Western Weeds Action Plan cover
Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for the Sagebrush Biome

In this bi-partisan and widely supported effort, the reader will likely find several components critical for helping address the invasive species issues they are currently encountering. A repeated concern raised by all stakeholders throughout the development of this Strategic Action Plan was the widespread lack of operational capacity and management capability to address invasive species; and a the need for major financial investments at all local, state, and federal levels. Private landowners, public land managers, and scientists know what to do to restore and protect the sagebrush biome; they just need resources to win the battles they face. This Strategic Action Plan is designed to change the paradigm for Western weed management, and serves as a foundation on which to build management capacity and develop stronger science-based policy decisions to guide all invasive plant management efforts in the future. It is not designed to function tactically, but focuses on high-level strategic approaches developed through years of dialog and assessment by those directly impacted by invasive species. Private individuals, government agencies, industry, and non-government groups are encouraged to actively embrace any one or more of the components of this plan that they are best suited to address. In the near-term, the release of this Strategic Action Plan will be hosted by the Western Weed Coordinating Committee (WWCC) and made available on their website. However, in the coming months the WWCC and its Western Weed Strategic Action Plan Working Group will be working to develop a more extensive webpage dedicated to making the Strategic Action Plan a “living document” through tracking its implementation and accomplishments.