Our mission is to promote & empower invasive species management in North America.
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November 2016 Newsletter

Table of Contents

Message from the President

While I wasn't able to attend the annual meeting in Salt Lake City, I've heard great reviews about the meeting program and field tour.  Thanks to Tim Higgs, Aaron Eager, Rich Riding and their great volunteer staff for making this meeting a success! We also welcome several new members on the Board of Directors who were elected at the annual meeting.  Additionally, we have a new chair for the Weed Free Forage committee, Marsha Watland, County Agriculture Inspector with Becker County SWCD, Minnesota. This is an important function of NAISMA and I'm very pleased to have her serving as chair. Marsha has the program running smoothly for the 2017 season.

We also say Thanks & Goodbye to Phil Banks for his many years of service to NAISMA as Executive Director.  He's been a great promoter, facilitator and advisor to the Association and we wish him the very best in his "retirement."   Taking over as the new  Executive Director of NAISMA is Belle Bergner.  She has a wealth of experience in working with invasive species organizations.  Belle will also be working on NAISMAs expanding national role in PlayCleanGo.  Welcome aboard Belle!

This spring NAISMA will offer a new invasive species training program developed by Dr. Randy Westbrook who spent his career with APHIS, PPQ working on invasive species detection and control.  Randy has developed a college credit course on invasive species management that we will offer through NAISMA.  Look for more information on this on the NAISMA website by January 2017.

Here's wishing everyone a safe, happy and peaceful Holiday season!

Dave Moorhead - President

Belle Bergner took over from Phil Banks as NAISMA's new Executive Director. She found her passion for protecting the environment through early adolescent canoeing trips in the Adirondacks and New England hikes. A happy Midwest transplant now in Wisconsin, Belle enjoys all things outdoors, especially with her active family.

Executive Director's Report

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know NAISMA over the last few months and I see so many opportunities to move NAISMA's mission and programs forward. NAISMA is the only organization positioned to lead on standards, communications, resource sharing, and networking opportunities for the continent. I am honored help to lead the charge. Here's what we are working on:

  1. Easier membership and support opportunities
    • Keep a look out for a membership renewal letter in December!
    • Every NAISMA program provides value to our members and supporters. I want to make it easier for you to get involved with and support the programs that help you the most.
  2. More opportunities to get involved with and support PlayCleanGo
    • We'll be announcing a new sponsorship opportunity very soon!
    • Click here if you are interested in being a PlayCleanGo partner.
  3. New Invasive Species Management Training Course.
    • As Dave mentioned above, we'll be launching a new training opportunity in partnership with Dr. Randy Westbrook in early 2017.
  4. Improved website
    • I want to provide quicker access to tools and resources, the latest news, and facilitate communication among members and supporters. We're working to make that happen. Please send me any suggestions.
Looking forward to a productive year in 2017 as we fight the spread of invasive species across North America. Please stay in touch and let me know how NAISMA can do more to help you.

- Belle 

NAISMA Elects New Board Members

New Board of Directors members were added at the Annual Meeting, Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City, UT. Front row, from left: Belle Bergner, Executive Director; Jennifer Grenz**; Julie Knudson; Mark Daluge; Melissa Maggio-Kassner**; Marsha Watland**. Back row, from left: Kelly Cooley, Secretary; Rob Schultz, Past President; David Coyle; Mike Stenson; Ron Manson**. Not pictured: Dave Moorhead, President. New members are indicated with a **

Play Clean Go videos

Please watch and share the following Clean Play Go videos with your networks. All PlayCleanGo partners are invited to create customized videos for your region and particular invasive species management challenges.

Partner with PlayCleanGo
PlayCleanGo Horseback Riding
PlayCleanGo Trail Running
PlayCleanGo Mountain Biking HD
PlayCleanGo Mountain Biking

Southern Forest Health Program

The Southern Forest Health website has numerous resources that may be of interest to NAISMA members. While the focus is on southeastern pests, there is overlap with some of the issues. 
Everything on the website is freely available, including fact sheets, short videos, and webinars where available (those currently available are Chinese tallow, cogongrass, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, laurel wilt, oak wilt, and Heterobasidion root disease. SAF continuing ed credits are available for all, and ISA are available for some.
In addition, David Coyle is conducting a project with nine different state forestry agencies on evaluating the Don’t Move Firewood outreach program. To contribute, please complete and/or share this survey asking about your knowledge/attitudes/awareness of forest health, invasive species, and firewood use habits.

Water samples positive for invasive mussel larvae in Tiber Reservoir (MT)

Water samples from Tiber Reservoir east of Shelby have tested positive for the larvae of aquatic invasive mussels, with similar tests from Canyon Ferry Reservoir near Helena showing “suspect” or inconclusive results, according to officials at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks .

FWP, along with other state and federal agencies and the Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council (MISAC), are now working to determine whether adult mussels are present in Tiber Reservoir and to get further test results on Canyon Ferry.

Read more from

Remembering Rita Beard

From the website of the NPS: Exotic Plant Management Teams and the Integrated Pest Management Program
Rita Beard, a luminary in the federal and private sector of the invasive species world, passed away in October at her home in Fort Collins, CO. Throughout her career, Rita advanced her vision of coordinating invasive species management on a national scope. By encouraging collaboration from the field to congressional levels, she effectively changed the way invasive species are managed in this country.

In addition, she worked to make sure that all invasive species management decisions were based on the latest and best available research and technology, thus ensuring that management decisions were supported by science. Towards that end, Rita spearheaded the development of the original mapping standards for the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA), which unified management practices to help ensure consistent data collection.
​Rita’s academic background served her well: she received her bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biosystematics from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by two Master of Science degrees; in Range and Wildlife Science from Montana State University, and in Forest and Public Policy from Oregon State University. She began her career in the late 1970s as the Range Conservationist and Invasive Plant Specialist, with the U.S. Forest Service on the Townsend Ranger District in western Montana. During this time, Rita made history by preparing the first Environmental Impact Statement on invasive plants in the United States, pioneering the use of herbicides to control invasive plants in wilderness areas.
In April 2005, she joined the National Park Service (NPS) as the National Invasive Plant Management Program Coordinator. At NPS she supervised 18 Exotic Plant Management Teams (EPMTs) and guided the development of policies related to invasive plant management and prevention. She professionalized this program by raising the level of technical expertise through training for her staff, communicating the importance of invasive plant management to NPS leadership, and increased the amount of funding available for weed management. She guided each EPMT team in working with their partner parks to develop proposed invasive plant management strategies for the protection of park resources in accordance with federal laws. Rita was a constant advocate for the EPMT program, its staff, and its mission to assist the parks with invasive plant management.
Rita’s depth of knowledge and experience made her an invaluable partner of the NPS Integrated Pest Management Program. She provided toxicological guidance on the selection and toxicology of herbicides as part of the IPM approach and helped train IPM practitioners in site evaluation, the proper selection and consequences of herbicides and related NEPA concerns, of which she was an expert.  Rita also provided assistance to the NPS Cultural Landscape and the Facilities Management Programs in invasive plant management and restoration planning.  
On the national level, Rita was an effective liaison for local weed management partners, federal and nonfederal agencies, Congress, and others in Washington, D.C., ensuring that management decisions were based on science and core natural resource values.  She served on several Departmental committees, including the National Invasive Species Council and the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds promoting the practical application of weed science principles and practices for invasive plant management.
Rita retired from the NPS in 2013 and continued to provide training and technical expertise to her partners.  In 2014, Rita received the Western Society of Weed Science’s Distinguished Achievement Award in the category of “Weed Manager” for her tireless efforts in advancing the cause of invasive plant management across the entire country.  
Throughout her career Rita never lost sight of the challenges that on-the- ground managers face in controlling invasive plants.  She understood the constraints of working in the federal system, and her goal was always to garner as much support as possible for on-ground managers, hence she worked to ensure that leadership understood and supported this cause.  We honor Rita Beard, who exemplified the qualities of a rare colleague and complete person: grace, kindness, composure, intelligence, fearlessness, poise, and to be deliberate, unassuming, truthful, and loving.