In order to manage invasive plants on parklands, 16 Exotic Plant Management Teams (EPMTs) have been deployed throughout the country. The teams, modeled after the coordinated rapid response approach used in wildland fire fighting, are a new weapon to combat invasive plants. The success of the EPMT derives from its ability to adapt to local conditions and needs, using weed science expertise and partnerships. The Alaska EPMT was founded in 2003 and has become a model early detection and rapid response program for Alaska and its National Parks.
Each season, field employees work across Alaskan parks, mapping thousands of invasive plant infestations, eradicating small patches, and organizing volunteer events to control larger ones. The EPMT program provides many benefits to Alaska beyond its parklands. EPMTs work successfully with landowners near each park to foster local invasive plant management. The EPMT program contributed to the first examinations of the wildfire-invasive plant connection in Alaska. In cooperation with the US Forest Service and the Alaska Natural Heritage Program, over 100 species were systematically ranked for their invasiveness threat and workshops were provided for their identification. Altogether, the Alaska EPMT makes the most of its support through an integrated, collaborative approach to maintain Alaska's unique position: ahead of the invasive species curve.