Eric Lane, State Weed Coordinator, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Whether we like it or not, we all participate in a political process that influences the direction, focus, and success of weed management efforts in Colorado and the West. The important question for each of us to answer is whether or not we, as scientists, educators, land managers, and policy-makers, utilize this opportunity as efectively as we can to advance our common weed management goals and objectives. This presentation focusses on the wide array of tools available to us that can be used to positively affect the political process.
The political process is the process by which multiple stakeholders with seemingly different views or perspectives interact to influence the decisions and choices of our society. Throughout this process science, education, and action are important tools utilized to advance weed management objectives. Science provides objecive data to inform policy-makers and provides a foundation for decisions and choices among many management alternatives. Without objective quantification of the impacts of noxious weed species upon a variety of natural resources and industries, it is very difficult to argue for the management of one species or another. Educattion, as a form of communication, can expand stakeholder views and perspectives regarding proposed policies and actions, balance policy-makers' knowledge about a particular subject or choice, and influence a wide variety of stakeholders' thinking about the need for adquate weed management efforts. Action has been successfully utilized in the political process to galvanize support for a particular decision, demonstrate the effectiveness and success of a proposed project, prod decison-makers to accelerate the political process and determine a course of action, and force a reprioritization of issues that vie for resources and policy-makers' attention.
Science, education, and action describe a series of tools (not necessarily used in a chronological fashion) that influence the political process of weed management. This conference is part of the political process to determine the fate of Russian olive and salt cedar in Colorado and the West. Each conference participant should consider how to utilize the diverse array of tools available to them through science, education, and action to enhance his/her program, assist the programs of other participants, and advance our common weed management objectives.