State awards $3.6 million to battle invasive species

The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development recently announced that more than two dozen projects will share $3.6 million in Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program funding.

The full list of grant recipients, project descriptions and award amounts is available on the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program website, www.michigan.gov/invasives.

Since its start, the program has targeted four key objectives:

- Preventing new introductions of invasive species through outreach and education.

- Monitoring for new invasive species and the expansion of existing invasive species.

- Responding to and conducting eradication efforts for new findings and range expansions.

- Strategically managing and controlling key colonized species.

This year's grant awards provide funding for several projects involving promising new methods of reducing the effects of terrestrial (land-based) invasive species:

- Using new techniques to increase development of beech trees that are resistant to beech bark disease. These trees will be planted in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.

- Grafting selected ash trees that have survived the emerald ash borer and testing them for resistance, with the goal of developing stock that could be used for restoration plantings.

- Testing a newly approved biological control, Hypena opulenta a moth from the Ukraine whose larvae primarily feed on invasive black and pale swallow-wort vines to determine its ability to establish, reproduce and help control these vines in Michigan.

Some of the grant dollars also will support a range of efforts to prevent and manage aquatic (water-based) invaders:

- Understanding the effects of European frogbit on Great Lakes coastal wetlands and gauging the success of hand-harvesting as a management tool.

- Determining if the presence of didymo (also known as "rock snot") in the Upper Peninsula's St. Marys River affects spawning locations or success for salmon, trout and whitefish, and if scraping and removing the invasive alga will reduce its spread.

- Increasing retailer adoption and consumer awareness of the Reducing Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) campaign throughout the state.

Descriptions and photos of the referenced terrestrial and aquatic invasive species (and many others) are available on the Michigan Invasive Species website under Species Profiles and Reporting Information.

Grant program background and progress

In 2014 Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Legislature designated $5 million in annual funding to address invasive species. This support substantially enhanced Michigan's Invasive Species Program for aquatic organisms, supported a formal program for terrestrial species, and initiated the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

This cycle marks the fifth year of program funding. To date, $18.5 million has been awarded to support 109 projects undertaken by units of government, nonprofits and institutions. Because of Michigan's Invasive Species Grant Program:

- More than 285,000 acres of land and water have been surveyed for invasive species.

- Over 18,000 acres have been treated for invasive terrestrial and aquatic plants.

- 147,000 people have been reached with invasive species education and promotion through direct contact, including face-to-face interactions at boat washes, workshops, trainings and other events.

- An additional 10,042,072 people were reached through grantees' "passive impression" efforts in areas including mail, newspapers, social media and handouts.

"It's clear that Michigan's Invasive Species Grant Program is accomplishing many of the goals set for the program at the very start," said DNR Director Keith Creagh. "The fight to stop, contain and eradicate invasive species from Michigan's woods and water is critical to the long-term protection of these valuable natural resources, and this grant program is helping in that fight."

Support in every Michigan county

This year's grants also will support 21 regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, the network of partnership organizations that work to manage and control invasive species. These CISMAs provide service to all 83 counties throughout the state. Proposed outcomes of CISMA projects receiving funding this year include:

- Surveying 11,000 acres of land and water.

- Treating at least 3,000 acres to eliminate invasive species.

- Directly reaching more than 20,000 residents and visitors through workshops, site visits and education programs.

- More than $9 million sought.

In response to a May 2018 request for grant pre-proposals, 63 applications were received in June, seeking a total of approximately $9 million in funding. Thirty-seven applicants responded to the full proposal invitation, requesting $5.4 million in grants. Applicants were asked to commit to providing at least 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match.

To learn more about invasive species including control efforts, species identification and education and outreach opportunities visit michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture & Rural Development, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.

Published: Wed, Jan 02, 2019

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