MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
TitleInstitutional Support for the Center for Invasive Species Management Request Date2012-11-24
DepartmentLRES, Center for Invasive Species Management Emailelizabeth.gallinoble@montana.edu
RequestorElizabeth Galli-Noble Phone406.994.6832
INSTITUTIONAL BENEFIT
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts LRES, Ecology (Fisheries, Entomology, Forestry), Sociology, Agricultural Economics and Economics, Agricultural Education, Animal and Range Sciences, and Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Native American Studies
TIMEFRAME
Proposed Dates Start: June 1, 2013 End: May 31, 2016
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
The Center for Invasive Species Management is requesting an infusion of one-time-only funding from our parent institution, which will allow us to: (1) continue providing a multitude of invasive species management resources and services to local, university, state, regional, national, and international partners; (2) expand our program to include all invasive species impacting western North America; (3) launch an internship program for MSU undergraduate students; and (4) implement a long-term strategy to ensure future financial sustainability for CISM. All of these actions are specifically aimed toward better serving MSU and its students.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
This proposal addresses and supports Montana State University’s Vision, Values, and many of the goals and objectives outlined in its Strategic Plan. The Center for Invasive Species Management’s strongest contributions address MSU’s Engagement, Discovery, and Learning goals, in that order.

MSU Vision and Values
The Center for Invasive Species Management (CISM or the Center, previously known as the Center for Invasive Plant Management) was established in 2000 by two distinguished Land Resources and Environmental Sciences Department faculty (Drs. Jeffrey S. Jacobsen and Roger L. Sheley) to address one of world’s greatest challenges—invasive species, which cause significant environmental changes and large-scale economic damage. CISM is a nationally recognized western regional hub for invasive species expertise and interagency project leadership. For more than a decade, CISM has promoted ecologically sound management of invasive species by sponsoring research, conducting public outreach, and facilitating collaboration and communication between researchers, educators, policy makers, natural resource managers, and the concerned public. CISM was created to help implement scientifically-based early detection and rapid response actions, as well as long-term research, prevention, management, and restoration strategies to combat this ever-increasing threat.

Invasive species are a major component of global change, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem processes and causing substantial harm to human livelihood. Invasive, nonindigenous species displace native species, increasing wildfire frequency and intensity, altering hydrology and nutrient cycles, and affecting primary production. After habitat destruction, invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity. Invasives threaten the survival of native plants and animals, interfere with ecosystem functions, and hybridize with native species, resulting in negative genetic impacts. Invasive species impede industry, threaten agriculture, endanger human health, and are becoming increasingly harder to control as a result of rapid global commercialization and human travel. Invasive species pose a significant threat to almost half of the native species on the federal endangered species list. The costs to prevent, monitor, and control invasive species—combined with the costs to crop damage, fisheries, forests, and other resources—cost the U.S. $137 billion annually.

The Center was designed and functions as a conduit for the MSU community to collaborate and communicate with the outside world. CISM is a highly respected information clearinghouse that provides strategic access and networking capacity to address invasive species issues by bringing together a diversity of expertise and resources. Over the past 12 years, CISM has effectively worked across multi-jurisdictional and geopolitical boundaries and has provided scientifically-based invasive species information, resources, expertise, and assistance to governments, tribes, conservation organizations, universities and colleges, Industry, and many thousands of concerned citizens. Through this proposal, CISM will be able to continue to provide these crucial services and resources, as well as providing the MSU community with the conduit to collaborate with and serve a broad spectrum of natural resource management partners and regional stakeholders.

MSU Strategic Plan

MSU Learning Goal (Objective L.1, Metric L.1.2., and Objective L.3): Prepare students to graduate equipped for careers or further education.

Through this proposal, CISM will establish an invasive species management internship program for MSU undergraduate students in 2013, which will better prepare and equip them for a wide array of careers in natural resource management. CISM will match a select number of MSU students with one of our established partners (local, state, regional, national or international agencies and organizations, and Tribes) who have requested assistance with a specific project and which will generate a specific work product or project outcome. Over the course of one semester, the students will interact with CISM professional staff and the client, complete the assigned project, and give a formal presentation on their project at the end of the term.

CISM internship projects will vary within and between disciplines. Potential projects may include: literature reviews and research papers on the economic impacts of invasive species, invasive species and social marketing, and innovative strategies for inventory and monitoring of invasive species; assisting western Tribes with the development of invasive species management plans; K-12 curriculum development incorporating invasive species; tri-national invasive species management projects; and researching and compiling content for one of CISM’s publications or networks.

The assigned project will give the student real-world project experience in a regional hub of expertise; provide strategic access and networking opportunities; build oral and written communication skills; provide exposure to critical thinking and to contemporary issues in science; increase job placement opportunities; and for some students, provide exposure to multi-cultural and continental work experience.

MSU Discovery Goal (Objective D.2., Metric D.2.2.). Raise the national and international prominence of MSU in research, creativity, innovation, and scholarly achievement; fortify the university’s standing as one of the nation’s leading public research institutions.
and
MSU Engagement Goal (Objective E.1., Metrics E.1.2.-E.1.5.; and Objective E.2., Metric E.2.1.). Members of MSU community will be leaders, scholars, and engaged citizens of their campus, local, state, national and global communities, working alongside community partners through the mutually beneficial exchange and application of knowledge and resources to improve the human prospect.

By supporting this proposal, MSU will fulfill its objectives to increase grant-sponsored investment in centers, core facilities and resources to expand state of the art tools, expertise, and opportunities for research and creative activities; and to enhance infrastructure in support of research, discovery, and creative activities currently undertaken by CISM. In addition, MSU will move in the direction of establishing campus-wide coordinating infrastructure to support and advance engagement, outreach and service; and the number of students, faculty, and staff involved in service activities will increase.

CISM has a proven state, regional, national, and international track record for invasive species leadership and expertise across disciplines. CISM promotes ecologically sound management of invasive species in western North America by sponsoring research, conducting public education, and facilitating collaboration and communication among researchers, educators, policy makers, natural resource managers, and the concerned public. CISM collaborates with a wide range of local, state, national and international partners, including: universities and colleges, governmental agencies, tribes, private landowners, Industry, conservation organizations, and the public.

At the request of the LRES Department Head, CISM has provided an umbrella for other underserved MSU noxious weed awareness and invasive species awareness and prevention programs in recent years; those programs will be directly involved and assisted through this proposal. CISM also houses a team of highly-skilled professionals who are able to assist a wide variety of partners and regional stakeholders with a broad range of technical and support services. These skills and services are being tapped more than ever these days, due in part to recent downsizing and budget cuts in state and federal agencies, as well as a reflection of the quality, speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of the services provided by CISM. The Center also provides many of these technical services to its home department, LRES, at little or no cost.

CISM embraces a strong commitment to public service to our institution, community, state, region, and nation. A key component of CISM’s program has always been to provide professional, science-based, technical support services to private landowners, the counties, community-based groups, and (more recently) cash-strapped western states, all of whom have little or no funding to pay for these services and have extremely limited resources to take on technical actions themselves. CISM is not, and likely will never be, fully compensated for many of the services and products that it provides; yet, it is these very services that are constantly in demand, provide the most benefit to the greatest number of Americans, and leverage other programs and research throughout the region. Examples of services provided by CISM just in the last two years include: developing and hosting communication networks for community-based organizations (such as websites and listservs); technical writing and editing of a variety of publications (reports, proceedings, guidebooks, booklets, newsletters, and more); conducting adult invasive species trainings; lecturing and moderating at professional conferences; K-12 school visits; assistance with invasive species identification; grant writing assistance; and board and technical advisory committee duties. Through this proposal, MSU will provide base funding to allow CISM to provide these much-needed services to our community and state.

CISM staff have served (pro bono) on the boards of directors and as technical advisors of more than 15 county, state, regional, national, and international organizations, including, but not limited to: the Park County (Montana) Cooperative Weed Management Area, Montana Weed Control Association, Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, Missouri River Watershed Coalition, Western Society of Weed Science-Education Committee, Weeds Across Borders Coordinating Committee, and North American Invasive Species Network.

CISM has developed strong and mutually-beneficial partnerships with a wide array of entities over the past decade—including Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. federal agencies, and academic institutions from California to Georgia to Ontario.

For 12 years, CISM has secured all of its own funding through federal or project-specific grant sources. CISM now requires and requests short-term assistance with base funding from MSU. By providing this OTO funding, MSU will strategically increase and sustain service, outreach, and engagement through one of its most recognized centers.

MSU Integration Goal (Objective I.1., Metrics I.1.1. and I.1.3.; and Objective I.2., Metrics I.2.1. and I.2.2.). By integrating learning, discovery and engagement, and by working across disciplines, the MSU community will improve (our community, our state, and) the world.

By supporting CISM’s proposal, the number of MSU undergraduate students who will have worked on interdisciplinary research and creative projects on campus will increase. CISM will actively recruit and match students with professional staff and agency partners to integrate learning, discovery and engagement through real-world, community-based invasive species management projects.

MSU Stewardship Goal (Objective S.1.). As stewards of our land grant institution, we will responsibly manage our human, physical, economic and environmental resources in an open and sustainable manner.

By supporting base funding for CISM, MSU will retain exceptional CISM professional staff who have diligently worked to achieve both the Center’s mission and MSU’s land grant mission to “serve communities by integrating learning, discovery, and engagement.” As a regional hub for invasive species information, CISM promotes land stewardship and resource conservation in our local community, in the state of Montana, and throughout western North America.
COST AND REQUIREMENTS
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries 56761  33817  33817         
Benefits 21098  12269  12269         
Materials & Supplies 1250  1000  1000         
Travel 4923  2389  2389         
Contracted Services        
Capital        
Other Operations 3000  3000  3000         
TOTAL 87032  52475  52475     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

COST AND REQUIREMENTS

Budget

Year 1 (June 2013-May2014): 

Salaries and Benefits                              $77,859

Galli-Noble, Director                         $24,048 = [18,218 (29% FTE) + 5,830 (32% benefits)]

Rindos, Assist Director                      $22,493 = [15,736 (45% FTE) + 6,757 (42.94% benefits)]

Weiss, E-Comm Coordinator              $15,848 = [11,087 (30% FTE) + 4,761 (42.94% benefits)]

Goodwin, Research Associate             $15,470 = [11,720 (30% FTE) + 3,750 (32% benefits)]

Materials & Supplies                                 $1,250

Travel                                                            $4,923

Contracted Services                                  $0

Capital                                                           $0

Other Operations:

(a) Communications                                 $1,000

(b) 4 Student Internship Stipends ($500 each)  $2,000

                                                               $87,032

Year 2 (June 2014-May2015)

Salaries and Benefits                               $46,086

Galli-Noble, Director                          $12,438 = [9,423 (15% FTE) + 3,015 (32% benefits)]

Rindos, Assist Director                       $10,996 = [7,693 (22% FTE) + 3,303 (42.94% benefits)]

Weiss, E-Comm Coordinator               $7,925 = [5,544 (15% FTE) + 2,381 (42.94% benefits)]

Goodwin, Research Associate               $9,282 = [7,032 (18% FTE) + 2,250 (32% benefits)]

*Bockness, CIG Field Project Leader     $5,445 = [4,125 (10% FTE) + 1,320 (32% benefits)]

Materials & Supplies                            $1,000

Travel                                               $2,389

Contracted Services                            $0

Capital                                                   $0

Other Operations:

(a) Communications                            $1,000

(b) 4 Student Internship Stipends ($500 each)   $2,000

                                                                                   $52,475

 

Year 3 (June 2015-May2016)

Salaries and Benefits                               $46,086

Galli-Noble, Director                          $12,438 = [9,423 (15% FTE) + 3,015 (32% benefits)]

Rindos, Assist Director                       $10,996 = [7,693 (22% FTE) + 3,303 (42.94% benefits)]

Weiss, E-Comm Coordinator               $7,925 = [5,544 (15% FTE) + 2,381 (42.94% benefits)]

Goodwin, Research Associate               $9,282 = [7,032 (18% FTE) + 2,250 (32% benefits)]

*Bockness, CIG Field Project Leader     $5,445 = [4,125 (10% FTE) + 1,320 (32% benefits)]

Materials & Supplies                           $1,000

Travel                                               $2,389

Contracted Services                            $0

Capital                                                   $0

Other Operations:

(a) Communications                             $1,000

(b) 4 Student Internship Stipends ($500 each)  $2,000

                                                              $52,475

Total Proposal: $191,982

_____________________________

 

Budget Narrative

CISM Personnel:

3 Professional and 2 Classified positions

CISM staff will manage all aspects of this proposal from start to finish. Tasks performed will include all of the following: project and fiscal management and reporting; internship program planning, implementation, and evaluation; technical coordination; program communications; website development and maintenance; publications and outreach materials development; and project evaluation and report submission.

Elizabeth Galli-Noble, CISM Director, manages all aspects of the CISM program. She will perform the following duties in support of this proposal: staff supervision; program administration, fiscal management and reporting; grant PI, administration, management, reporting, and evaluation; internship program leader; special projects leader; and technical writer and editor.

Emily Rindos, CISM Assistant Director, will function as the CISM science communication team leader, internship projects co-leader, and technical writer and editor in support of this proposal.

In addition to her LRES departmental support duties, Emilyn (Kitty) Weiss, CISM E-Communications Coordinator, will function as the e-communications program specialist, and marketing and graphic design leader in support of this proposal.

In addition to her daily work activities, Kim Goodwin, CISM Research Associate and Weed Prevention Areas Program Coordinator, will perform two major duties in support of this proposal: (1) complete the development of CISM’s strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy; and (2) host one internship student project per semester through the Weed Prevention Areas program.

In addition to his daily special project activities, Scott Bockness, Field Leader for the Conservation Innovation Grant Project, will function as an internship project mentor, and conduct outreach and foster collaborations with natural resource-based departments at MSU-Billings in Years 2 and 3 of this project.

Materials & Supplies

Consumable supplies and materials (copy paper, toner, envelopes, photo copying, printing, etc.) to be used by the CISM program: office supplies; workshop, meeting and outreach materials; internship project materials; etc.               

Year 1: $1,250 + Year 2: $1,000 + Year 3: $1,000 = $3,250

 

Travel                                                                

CISM personnel will travel in state and out of state to project-related meetings, workshops, trainings, outreach and education activities, and other project support events over a 3-year period.

4 CIPM Staff will travel a combined: {[12 trips (35 days)] x $110 (lodging + meals)} + {[12 trips (35 days)] x $450 (transportation costs/person)} = $3,850 + $5,400= $9,250 over a 3-year period.

 

Other Operations

1. Communications

Communications: Postage, long distance and conference calls, faxes, etc.

$1,000 per year x 3 years = $3,000

 

2. Student Internship Stipends

Four undergraduate students (two per semester) will be selected for the CISM Invasive Species Internship Program each academic year. Each intern will be paid a $500 stipend for work conducted during their internship.

2 interns paid $500/semester x 2 semesters/year x 3 years = $6,000

PROPOSAL SCOPE
Describe the Proposal

CISM Background

Established in 2000, the Center for Invasive Species Management (CISM) is housed within the LRES Department and the College of Agriculture at MSU. CISM serves as a respected western regional hub for invasive species expertise, and interagency project collaboration. Working with state and federal agencies, Tribes, farmers, ranchers, the research community, Extension Services, county agencies, and conservation organizations over the past 12 years, the Center has established strong partnerships in Montana, throughout the western region, nationwide, and internationally—which have helped promote broader awareness and progressive sustainable solutions to invasive species problems. CISM promotes invasive species management research; develops online instructional and outreach materials for varied audiences; maintains a comprehensive website that serves as an invasive species information clearinghouse; publishes reports, proceedings, booklets, and fact sheets; sponsors, conducts, and facilitates workshops, trainings, and conferences; provides leadership and coordination on multi-state and multi-jurisdictional project collaborations; and supports community-based cooperative weed/invasive species management areas. CISM’s regularly updated website (www.weedcenter) provides comprehensive information about invasive species management, prevention, and impacts to a wide range of audiences.

CISM’s Financial History

MSU has benefited from CISM’s regional and national recognition for more than a decade. From 2000 to 2008, CISM brought $5.2 million in Congressional earmark and other federal grant funding to MSU; and from 2009 to 2012, CISM generated an additional $1.4 million in (95%) soft-money grant funding for MSU.  CISM program funding (2000 to present) has also generated more than $685,000 in Indirect Costs, all but ~9% of which (~$65,000) has been retained by the MSU Vice President for Research, the College of Agriculture, and the LRES Department.

Furthermore, from 2001 to 2007, the Center administered a small, regional research grants program (using Congressional earmark funding) and awarded more than $230,000 to 14 MSU research projects. CISM also awarded an additional $285,000 to special research and outreach/education projects undertaken by two other MSU/COA/LRES “weed prevention” programs—(1) the Montana Statewide Noxious Weed Awareness and Education Campaign and (2) the Weed Prevention Areas program—using CISM programmatic funds.

Given this tremendously successful and institutionally-supportive financial history, it is much to MSU’s advantage to provide CISM with a minimal amount of OTO base funding for the next three years to: (1) help CISM remain solvent during this particularly difficult soft-money funding period, and (2) allow CISM to develop and implement new programmatic initiatives, all of which are aimed toward better serving our parent institution and its students.

In the 12 years since the Center’s inception, not once has it been awarded base/operational funding from MSU.  In fact, the situation has been just the opposite—CISM has secured millions of dollars in funding and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to our institution, our College, and our Department. We now respectfully request that MSU take this opportunity to affirm the Center’s contributions to the university by providing financial support in the form of OTO base funding.

Proposal

CISM requests $191,982 in OTO base funding over a 3-year period (June 2013 to May 2016). This infusion of funding will accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Provide CISM with first-time, OTO base funding from our parent institution, which will enable the Center to continue to provide a multitude of resources and services to our local and university communities, the state of Montana, western regional stakeholders, and North America;
  2. Promote CISM’s transition from an invasive plant management-focused mission to one that includes all invasive species impacting western North America and thus, serving a wider range of MSU departments/disciplines that deal with invasive species, including: LRES, Ecology (Fisheries, Entomology, Forestry), Sociology, Agricultural Economics and Economics, Agricultural Education, Animal and Range Sciences, and Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Native American Studies;
  3. Enable CISM to develop and implement an undergraduate internship in an invasive species-related field; and
  4. Allow CISM and our Steering Committee to develop and implement of a long-term marketing and funding strategy, which will ensure financial sustainability for the Center into the future.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1. MSU will provide CISM with first-time, OTO base funding, which will allow us to continue to provide a multitude of resources and services to our local and university communities, the state of Montana, western regional stakeholders, and North America.

CISM is a highly respected information clearinghouse that provides strategic access and networking capacity to address invasive species issues by bringing together a diverse array of expertise and resources. Over the past 12 years, CISM has effectively worked across multi-jurisdictional and geopolitical boundaries and has provided scientifically-based invasive species information, resources, expertise, and assistance to governments, Tribes, conservation organizations, universities and colleges, Industry, and concerned citizens. Through this proposal, CISM will be able to continue to provide these crucial services and resources, as well as providing the MSU community with the conduit to collaborate with and serve a broad spectrum of natural resource management partners and regional stakeholders. 

In the 12 years since the Center’s inception, not once has it received base funding from MSU. In fact, the situation has been just the opposite—CISM has secured millions of dollars in funding and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to our institution, our College, and our Department. Given this tremendously successful and institutionally-supportive financial history, it is much to MSU’s advantage to provide CISM with a minimal amount of base funding over the next three years to: (1) help CISM remain solvent during this particularly difficult soft-money funding period; (2) strengthen CISM by allowing us to develop and implement new programmatic initiatives, all of which are aimed toward better serving our parent institution and its students; and (3) allow MSU, through CISM’s respected and widely known work, to remain at the forefront of invasive species expertise.

Objective 2. Promote CISM’s transition from an invasive plant management-focused mission to one that includes all invasive species impacting western North America; and thus serving a wider range of MSU departments and disciplines that deal with invasive species, including: LRES, Ecology (Fisheries, Entomology, Forestry), Sociology, Agricultural Economics and Economics, Agricultural Education, Animal and Range Sciences, and Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Native American Studies.

After weighing the pros and cons for several years, on October 22, 2012, the Center changed our name and began the transition from an invasive plant management-focused mission to one that includes all invasive species impacting western North America. By officially changing our name, we made the commitment to offer enhanced information exchange and provide a wider array of educational resources, tools, and trainings. This will be particularly obvious for focal areas such as invasive species prevention, and early detection and rapid response, given the great deal of overlap in the science and management of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.

Like many of our American and Canadian state/provincial, regional, and national partners, we came to realize that expanding our program to include a wider range of invasive species taxa was a natural fit for our organization. Not only is an expanded mission well within our capabilities, it is necessary in order to adequately serve our highly-varied regional partners and constituencies, which includes a wide variety of natural resource-based departments and disciplines at MSU.

A limited infusion of base funding from MSU in support of this important transition is crucial for CISM. It will allow us to fund a portion of our staff time to focus on programmatic expansions and outreach to new institutional and regional partners, neither of which can be funded through our traditional project-based grant funding sources. Also, by doing so, MSU will help to ensure that CISM remains relevant and effective, and able to continue providing important services and resources to a wider range of MSU departments, an ever-expanding western regional audience, and the concerned public.

Objective 3. Enable CISM to develop and implement an undergraduate internship in an invasive species-related field.

Through this proposal, CISM will establish a new undergraduate internship program focusing on invasive species-related projects, which will begin in fall 2013. Internships are self-directed learning, and an invaluable first step toward career building. Internships link meaningful community service experience with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility. CISM will develop these internships to go well beyond resume building; invasive species-related work projects will be about gaining experience, networking, and learning in a professional setting.

A truly educational internship offers hands-on experience in the work of a particular profession—in this case, working with natural resource (invasive species) management agencies and organizations, while housed within a regional hub of expertise. Students will not only offer invaluable and much needed assistance to targeted agency clients, but they will also learn skills to better prepare and equip them for a wide array of careers in natural resource management.

CISM will match two MSU students per semester with one of our established partners (local, state, regional, national, or international entities) who have requested assistance with a specific project and which will generate a specific work product or project outcome.  Over the one-semester time period, the student will interact with CISM professional staff and the client, complete the assigned project, and give a formal presentation on their project to the client at the end of the term. This will give the student real-world experience in a regional hub of invasive species expertise; provide the student with strategic access and networking opportunities; build oral and written communication skills; provide exposure to critical thinking and contemporary issues in science; increase job placement opportunities; and for some students, provide exposure to multi-cultural and global work experience.

Examples of potential CISM internship projects include:

Research Papers

Examples of topics include:

  • Economic impacts of invasive species in Montana, the western US, nationwide, or North America;
  • Managing invasive species in accordance with Tribal cultural and natural resource management customs;
  • Innovative approaches to invasive species inventory and monitoring (for example, using drones);
  • Challenges the horticultural industry poses to invasive species management efforts;
  • Invasive species impacts on border protection and control;
  • International invasive species policy; and
  • Implications of climate change on invasive species management and prevention efforts.

Working with Tribes

Assist a Tribe in Montana or another western state with developing an invasive species management plan for their reservation.

Outreach and Education

  • Assist the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign and select Montana counties with developing a K-12 curriculum that incorporates invasive species knowledge and information into science education;
  • Assist CISM with developing invasive species outreach and education materials for varied audiences.

Projects Related to CISM’s Expansion

  • Assist CISM staff with compiling information and content for websites and publications on a wide range of invasive species taxa such as forest pests and insects, pathogens, aquatic nuisance species, and animal pests; and
  • Assist CISM staff with researching, developing, and producing additional life-like models of such as nuisance species and invasive plants.

Montana Weed Prevention Program

Assist Montana Weed Prevention program leader Kim Goodwin by providing research and/or project assistance on topics such as:

  • Invasive species and social science: advancing invasive species management with a better understanding of how social changes in ecosystems influence invasions and how social marketing programs can encourage cooperation and change public behavior; and
  • Sustainability of rangeland ecosystems: conserving rangelands with sustainability platforms emphasizing socio-economic issues and the value ecosystems  have to society. 

Objective 4. Allow CISM and our Steering Committee to develop and implement a long-term marketing and funding strategy, which will ensure financial sustainability for the Center into the future.

For more than a decade CISM has experienced operational stability and financial success; however, in the past year or so, the project-based grant-funding climate has shifted as the budgets of our traditional invasive species management partners have been drastically cut. As a consequence, we have found ourselves (as have most of our colleagues) with insufficient federal grant funding and thus, in need of an infusion of OTO base funding, as well as recognizing the need to adapt our program, operations, and strategic thinking to this “new norm.” In a proactive move, over the past six months, CISM staff and our Steering Committee have been discussing the need for a new, long-term marketing and funding strategy for the Center. Through this proposal, limited base funding from MSU will allow us to continue those discussions, complete our strategic planning process and ultimately, to implement our strategy in 2013 and 2014. Specifically, we will fund a portion of  Weed Prevention Areas program coordinator Kim Goodwin’s time to continue to work closely with Dr. Roger Sheley (Ecologist, USDA-ARS) and other key Steering Committee members to realign our strategic direction, programs and services to the needs of our primary partners; activities that include situation assessments and needs-based segmentation and program alignment analyses, all of which cannot be funded through current CISM project-based grant funding sources. Furthermore, this proposal will also allow CISM staff to meet with and negotiate future collaborative projects with both established and potential new partners—a major component of our long-term marketing strategy. 

After 12 years of successful operations, it is surprising that we find the Center in need of financial assistance from our parent institution. But we do. CISM requires an infusion of OTO base funding from MSU to allow our program to morph and adapt to a radically changing work and funding environment.

 
Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

Please also see Proposal Scope for details.

Although the Center has developed strong and mutually-beneficial partnerships with a wide array of entities over the past decade—including academic institutions from across the North American continent—our interactions with our parent institution have been somewhat limited. This proposal is our attempt to reach out to MSU students, Extension, and natural resource-focused departments; to pool resources and expertise; to provide real-world work and research experience through internships; and to proactively adjust our operation to better fit the new reality, which will ensure the Center’s relevance and sustainability for years to come.  

The following are testimonials from several of CISM’s program collaborators and project partners. These individuals speak to the broader, positive impacts and benefits CISM has provided to countless local, state, federal, and international entities over the past 12 years; positive impacts and valuable benefits that the Center will continue to provide as a result of this proposal.

Testimonial #1

“I have been actively involved in the invasive species world for over 20 years and have always looked to the Center for Invasive Species Management for professional leadership in areas and issues that connect us all across the United States and Canada. We, as professionals, can rely on highly educated information through the services and support that CISM offers. Anyone working with the Center’s professional and motivated staff knows they are the bridge between local, state and national partners. If CISM has their stamp of approval on something, it is well known that the information is justified, researched and can be backed up with the high standards they provide through their services.”
Sheilah Kennedy, Owner/Operator, S-K Environmental; Okanogan, Washington

 

Testimonial #2

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fully endorses the work of the Center for Invasive Species Management.  Since the inception of the Center, BLM staff have utilized the basic technical education developed through on-line training courses and educational tools, such as the weed models and identification cards.  The BLM has also consulted with CISM staff to design and develop pamphlets for the Bureau, which have been utilized in outreach to public land users for the prevention of the introduction and spread of invasive and noxious weeds, as well as other invasive species on public lands. These pamphlets, along with “Leave No Weeds” plastic tags, were designed by CISM for the BLM, specifically for the Weeds Across Borders conference.

The Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW) enlisted the assistance of the CISM in 2010, when organizing the Weeds Across Borders conference, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Weeds Across Borders is a tri-national meeting with representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  CISM’s professionalism and organizational skills assisted FICMNEW in sponsoring a successful meeting in 2010; so much so that in 2012, Mexico’s National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and FICMNEW once again requested CISM’s assistance in organizing the 2012 Weeds Across Borders in Cancun, Mexico.  CISM fulfills a need for federal agencies in the western United States by providing a ‘one stop shop’ not provided by non-government, state, or other Federal agencies’ websites.  CISM’s professional services provide education and outreach coordination, and design for basic and advanced courses on invasive species.

The BLM has benefitted greatly from the services offered by this organization and looks forward to working with the CISM in the future.”                                                                                                              Gina Ramos, Senior Weeds Specialist, BLM; Washington, DC

 

Testimonial #3

“The Missouri River Watershed Coalition would not be what it is today without the administrative role the Center of Invasive Species Management has played. When given a task, Liz Galli-Noble and the staff at CISM get the job done, it’s done right, it’s done on time, and it’s very cost effective. The CIPM organization is a results-driven group. As the future unfolds regarding the national deficit and limited funding resources, this group needs to rise to the top in project management and coordination among private, county, state, and federal agencies in all scopes of invasive species management. It is absolutely imperative that agencies at all government levels realize the critical role this organization has to offer in the areas of effective results and cost efficiencies.”                                                                                                                               Andrew Canham, President, Missouri River Watershed Coalition and Owner, Mid Dakota Vegetation Management; Miller, South Dakota

 

Testimonial #4

"On behalf of the Salish Kootenai College Extension program, I want to express solid support of the request from the Center for Invasive Species Management to the Montana State University Strategic Investment for Institutional Priorities for financial support for Center operations. The Salish Kootenai College has worked with the Center for several years on noxious plant projects. The Center has provided technical support for projects, educational materials on invasive plants, and provides statewide, regional, and national leadership for the proactive management of invasive species.

Invasive species are the most serious environmental threat facing Montana rangelands, timberlands, and waterways. It is important for the future of Montana’s agriculture, wildlife, fisheries, and recreational economies to have invasive species expertise so close at hand. This is an investment in Montana’s and the West’s future, which cannot be made a low priority.  Invasive species do not respect state or international borders; thus, it is essential that we maintain close communication and cooperation with our neighbors to work together to stop introductions, implement rapid detection and early response actions, and maintain long-term research into the control and management of invasive species.

The Center is a key player in this important task, staffed with proven professionals who can educate, organize, and secure additional financial resources to manage for a more productive landscape. The legacy we pass on to the next generation must be one of land stewardship and commitment for leaving things better than we received them, not one of degraded wastelands and impaired water bodies caused by invasive species. This investment will address MSU’s community engagement and integration strategic goals by providing essential staffing and an avenue for education and research to positively impact the future of Montana landscapes.

Please consider this funding request to support the future of Montana’s pristine landscape and natural resource economy."                                                                                                                         Virgil Dupuis, Extension Director; Salish Kootenai College; Pablo, Montana

 Testimonial #5

"As an invasive species professional, I have had the pleasure to work with the Center for Invasive Species Management team on a variety of projects over the years and have benefitted from the resources and services provided by CISM. CISM provides a valuable link between academic institutions and the public and private sector, who deal directly with invasive species management. The recent acceleration of aquatic invasive species issues in Montana and our surrounding states has increased the need for elevated coordination and information sharing throughout the region. CISM has a proven track record and has done an excellent job in this regard, providing technical information to land managers, coordinating regional projects and programs, and developing quality educational materials. It is my hope that MSU provides additional funding and support to CISM, which will allow them to continue providing the services that are so desperately needed in the natural resource arena."                                                                                                                              Scott Bockness, Missouri River Watershed Coalition-Conservation Innovation Grant Project Leader and former Yellowstone County Weed Coordinator; Billings, Montana

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Implementation Plan

CISM is an ongoing program. Over the 3-year period of this proposal, MSU OTO base funding will supplement a portion (10-45%) of the salaries and benefits of 5 CISM staff, who will continue to provide a multitude of resources and services to our local and university communities, the state of Montana, western regional stakeholders, and North America. Proposal funding will also allow the Center to develop and implement new initiatives: an invasive species internship program for MSU students; the expansion to multiple invasive species taxa; and the implementation of a strategic realignment and marketing strategy for CISM.

Year 1: June 2013-May2014

June 2013-May2014:

  • Provide a portion (29-45%) of the salaries and benefits of 4 CISM staff positions: Director, Assistant Director, E-Communications Coordinator, and Research Associate—who will promote invasive species management research; develop online instructional and outreach materials for varied audiences; maintain a comprehensive website that serves as an invasive species information clearinghouse; publish reports, proceedings, booklets, and fact sheets; sponsor, conduct, and facilitate workshops, trainings, and conferences; provide leadership and coordination on multi-state and multi-jurisdictional project collaborations; and support community-based organizations.

June 2013-May 2014:

  • CISM programmatic expansion to multiple invasive species taxa and outreach to new institutional and regional partners.

June-July 2013:

  • Complete the development of a strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy for CISM.

June-August 2013:

  • Secure work projects and partners for Fall 2013 internship program.
  • Advertize new internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Fall 2013 semester.

August-December 2013:

  • Implement the strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy.

August-December 2013:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Secure work projects and partners for Spring 2014 internship program.
  • Advertize Spring 2014 internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Spring 2014 semester.

January-May 2014:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.

Year 2: June 2014-May2015

June 2014-May2015:

  • Provide a portion (10-22%) of the salaries and benefits of 5 CISM staff positions: Director, Assistant Director, E-Communications Coordinator, Research Associate, and CIG Project Field Leader—who will promote invasive species management research; develop online instructional and outreach materials for varied audiences; maintain a comprehensive website that serves as an invasive species information clearinghouse; publish reports, proceedings, booklets, and fact sheets; sponsor, conduct, and facilitate workshops, trainings, and conferences; provide leadership and coordination on multi-state and multi-jurisdictional project collaborations; conduct outreach to MSU-Billings; and support community-based organizations.

June 2014-May 2015:

  • Continue CISM programmatic expansion to multiple invasive species taxa and outreach to new institutional and regional partners.

June 2014-May 2015:

  • Continue implementation of the strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy.

June-August 2014:

  • Secure work projects and partners for Fall 2014 internship program.
  • Advertize Fall 2014 internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Fall 2014 semester.

August-December 2014:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Secure work projects and partners for Spring 2015 internship program.
  • Advertize Spring 2015 internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Spring 2015 semester.

January-May 2015:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.

Year 3: June 2015-May2016

June 2015-May2016:

  • Provide a portion (10-22%) of the salaries and benefits of 5 CISM staff positions: Director, Assistant Director, E-Communications Coordinator, Research Associate, and CIG Project Field Leader—who will promote invasive species management research; develop online instructional and outreach materials for varied audiences; maintain a comprehensive website that serves as an invasive species information clearinghouse; publish reports, proceedings, booklets, and fact sheets; sponsor, conduct, and facilitate workshops, trainings, and conferences; provide leadership and coordination on multi-state and multi-jurisdictional project collaborations; conduct outreach to MSU-Billings; and support community-based organizations.

June 2015-May 2016:

  • Complete and evaluate CISM’s programmatic expansion to multiple invasive species taxa and outreach to new institutional and regional partners.

June 2015-May 2016:

  • Evaluate CISM’s strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy.

June-August 2015:

  • Secure work projects and partners for Fall 2015 internship program.
  • Advertize Fall 2015 internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Fall 2015 semester.

August-December 2015:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Secure work projects and partners for Spring 2016 internship program.
  • Advertize Spring 2016 internship program.
  • Interview and select 2 interns for Spring 2016 semester.

January-May 2016:

  • Assign projects, set up client meetings, and establish work schedules for interns.
  • Conduct internship project tasks.
  • Present final products to client and submit final internship deliverables.
  • Interview and survey students about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Interview clients about their satisfaction with the program.
  • Formally evaluate the internship program.
  • Write and submit final project report to MSU.
 
Assessment Plan

The assessment plan for this proposal is:

CISM Program Resources and Services

  1. Continued provision of a multitude of invasive species management resources and services to local and university communities, the state of Montana, western regional stakeholders, and North America by CISM staff.
  2. Standard annual MSU program evaluations will be conducted, as well as an in-depth assessment of proposal results in Year 3.
  3. Retention of high-quality and experienced CISM staff—who will go through the annual review process, as do all MSU personnel.

Invasive Species Internship Program

  1. Engaging 4 undergraduate students per year in an invasive species-focused internship program and their successful completion of applied work projects and deliverables.
  2. Students will be interviewed and surveyed about their satisfaction with the program and experience; and that feedback will be used to improve the program in subsequent semesters.
  3. Satisfaction of agency partners with project deliverables. Clients will be interviewed by CISM staff about their satisfaction with the program and experience; and that feedback will be used to improve the program in subsequent semesters.

CISM Strategic Realignment and Marketing Strategy

  1. Completion, implementation, and evaluation of CISM’s strategic realignment and associated marketing strategy.
  2. Establishing new partners and tapping new, sustainable funding sources for CISM.

CISM’s Transition to Multiple Invasive Species Taxa

  1. Expanding current CISM resources and services to effectively address additional invasive species taxa—insects, aquatic nuisance species, fish, and animals—at the state and regional levels.
  2. Partnering with and serving a wider range of MSU departments/disciplines that deal with invasive species: LRES, Ecology (Fisheries, Entomology, Forestry), Sociology, Agricultural Economics and Economics, Agricultural Education, Animal and Range Sciences, and Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Native American Studies.
  3. Partnering with and serving a wider range of regional invasive species management partners.
  4. Standard annual MSU program evaluations will be conducted, as well as an in-depth assessment of proposal results in Year 3.
 
If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

CISM has 12 years of demonstrated success and we are confident that we will meet the objectives of this proposal. If, however, we do not meet the criteria for this funding source, it will be impossible for the Center to establish an undergraduate internship program due to lack of funds, and CISM staff will seek other funding sources to implement this program and fund their positions.

 
SIGNATURES
Department Head: Tracy Sterling (tracy.sterling@montana.edu)
Dean/Director: Jeff Jacobsen (jefj@montana.edu)
Executive/VP: Tom Mccoy (tommccoy@montana.edu)