Blue Ridge PRISM
A Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc began as a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to reducing the negative impact of invasive plants in the northern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Effective invasive plant control is a community and neighborhood issue because these aggressive plants know no boundaries – flowing water, birds, hikers, vehicles, and animals scat all help to spread their seeds.
In 2014, Rod and Maggie Walker, landowners in Albemarle County, and Jake Hughes, Exotic Plant Management Biological Science Technician for Shenandoah National Park, connected over their common problem of invasive vines. Rod and Maggie were alerted to the problem of invasive plants in the Blue Ridge when they found 15 acres of large Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) vines that were strangling 15 acres of their forest. Concerned about the damage posed by this invasive vine, and by the many other invasive plants that abound in this region, Rod and Maggie contacted Jake for information and advice. More people joined the conversation, and Blue Ridge PRISM was born becoming a project of the Shenandoah National Park Trust.
In 2020, Blue Ridge PRISM became an independent non-profit dedicated to the same mission. Blue Ridge PRISM is supported by four staff including the Executive Director, the Director of Communications and Outreach, and two Invasive Management Specialists supporting education and outreach efforts throughout our 12-county service area in the northern Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue Ridge PRISM is also led and supported by numerous dedicated volunteers and partners including an Advisory Council of key stakeholders.
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc is a 501(c)(3) public charity.
What We Do
- Seasonal Workshops are the best place to start after reading information on our website where you will learn identification and treatment options
- Referrals to professional contractors who can treat the invasive plants on your property
- Financial assistance referrals to financial assistance from other grants and cost-sharing programs
- Area Stewards Program in which neighbors work together to manage control of invasive plants
- Fact sheets about the most important invasive plants in our communities and how to control them
- Alerts about new invasive plants so they can be eradicated with an EDRR (early-detection-rapid-response) process through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and by our volunteers
- Education and outreach programs such as display booths and speaking engagements intended to increase public awareness of the scale of destruction posed by invasive plants
- Volunteer opportunities for people to join invasive eradication efforts on public and private land, to act as Area Stewards, and to participate in education and outreach efforts
- Consultations to landowners from PRISM Staff to identify the invasive plants on their properties and to explain how to control them. This service is available for property within our 12-county service area. Note: Consultations are also available from both your Department of Forestry Area Forester and your local District Conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Research results shared from university and other organizations
- Communication with state agencies to encourage increased funding for control measures across the state
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Ivy Creek Foundation
Piedmont Environmental Council
Private Landowners Like You
Shenandoah National Park Trust
Shenandoah National Park
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The 500 Year Forest Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
University of Virginia – Dept of Environmental Services
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia Dept of Conservation and Recreation
Virginia Dept of Forestry
Virginia Dept of Transportation
Virginia Master Gardeners
Virginia Master Naturalists
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Virginia Native Plant Society
Virginia’s First Cooperative Weed Management Area
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc is the first Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) headquartered in Virginia. There are approximately 100 CWMAs in the U.S., mostly in the western part of the country. As with its western counterparts, Blue Ridge PRISM is a collaborative partnership between individuals and various private and public agencies, who work in a coordinated fashion over a wide geographical area to address the threat of invasive species and to restore native habitats. We serve Clarke, Warren, Rappahannock, Page, Madison, Rockingham, Greene, Augusta, Albemarle and Nelson Counties. In early 2022, PRISM expanded our service area to include Fauquier and Loudoun Counties.