Invasive weeds represent one of the most significant threats to the economy and ecology of the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage each year to farms and ranches and degrading millions of acres of critical wildlife habitat. NFWF's Pulling Together Initiative provides modest grants to help local communities effectively manage these plant invaders.
The Pulling Together Initiative is one of the only public-private partnerships to address invasive weeds nationally. Pulling Together Initiative grants are intended to help support the creation of local Cooperative Weed Management Area partnerships. Such partnerships bring together local landowners, citizens groups, and weed experts to develop and implement strategies for managing weed infestations on public lands, natural areas, and private working lands.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Projects that focus on a particular well-defined Weed Management Area, such as a watershed, ecosystem, landscape, or county
- Projects supported by private landowners, state and local governments, and the regional/state offices of federal agencies
- Projects with a steering committee composed of local cooperators who are committed to working together to manage invasive and noxious plants across their jurisdictional boundaries
- Long-term weed management plans which are based on an integrated pest management approach using the principles of ecosystem management
- Inclusion of a public outreach and education component, as appropriate.
Since 1997, this program has awarded $20.8 million to 595 projects. Leveraged by an additional $44 million in partner contributions, these grants have resulted in a total of $64.8 million for local communities fighting invasive weeds. The Pulling Together Initiative has facilitated the creation of Cooperative Weed Management Areas in 16 different states, greatly improving not only national invasive weed management, but state weed management. Cooperative Weed Management Areas typically range in size from the county level to the multi-county and watershed level.
Major funding for the Pulling Together Initiative is provided by the Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA Forest Service. All awards must be matched by non-federal contributions from project partners, either cash or in-kind, on at least a 1:1 basis.