Board adopts resolutions creating two new invasive species prevention programs

Commissioner Kristen Nelson (D-Waterford) authored two resolutions adopted at the June 25 full Oakland County Board of Commissioners meeting that aim to improve the county’s local ecosystem. The board voted to establish the “Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose” pilot program to prevent aquatic invasive species in Oakland County and the 2020 Oakland County Native Plants initiative.

Through the “Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose” program, two mobile cleaning stations will be placed at local boat launches to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species across Oakland County waters. Aquatic invasive species are often spread from one body of water to another when they are attached to boats or boating equipment. In under 10 minutes, the solar powered stations will allow water enthusiasts to clean their boats and trailers before they are once again placed in the water. This will also help users comply with Michigan law, which does not allow placing a boat, boating equipment or boat trailer in the water if it has an aquatic organism attached, including plants.

“With summer in full swing, water enthusiasts will have an additional tool to help keep their boats clean while directly contributing to decreasing the spread of aquatic invasive species in our lakes throughout Oakland County,” Nelson said. “These self-service stations not only assist boaters and anglers in complying with state law, they empower the public to take personal action to keep our lakes healthy.”

The board allocated $118,000 to purchase the two mobile units. The Parks and Recreation Commission will administer the two-year pilot program. Data collected from the units will provide information on usage habits and notifications when they need to be serviced.

The 2020 Oakland County Native Plants initiative will promote the planting of fauna native to Oakland County, as the plants provide many benefits for the environment. Regional insects, birds and other wildlife prefer native plants for food and shelter. In addition, by promoting native species above non-native species, invasive pests that degrade habitat in natural areas may be reduced.

“As we move past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is tremendous enthusiasm for outdoor sports recreation and enjoyment of Oakland County’s natural resources,” Nelson said. “These programs are all about giving residents and visitors the tools they need to preserve and protect our lakes and local ecology to keep Oakland County a wonderful place to live and play.”

The board allocated $32,000 for the project, which will make native plants available to Oakland County residents and organizations. The Special Committee on Invasive Species Prevention will oversee the program, including reviewing purchasing bids and developing a distribution plan for the plants.

The complete board packet, which contains each resolution, can be found on the Board of Commissioners website, www.oakgov.com/boc, by clicking on “Meeting Resources” under the “Committees & Authorities” tab.

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