Sustainable Small Harbors Webinar

Event Date: 5/8/2017

Michigan Sea Grant to host webinar about Sustainable Small Harbors project findings and next steps

On May 8 at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT, Michigan Sea Grant will host a webinar titled, “The Sustainable Small Harbors Project: Helping coastal communities re-imagine their waterfront.”

This webinar will provide an overview of the Sustainable Small Harbors project, an initiative to boost the long-term well-being of Michigan’s coastal communities. All people involved in coastal communities, both in and outside of Michigan, are invited to participate.

The Sustainable Small Harbors project arose in 2014 when many of Michigan’s small coastal communities were struggling to cope with fluctuating water levels, declining populations, and economic instability. The project research team (consisting of Lawrence Technological University, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., Veritas Economic Consulting, LLC, and David Larkin Knight, LLC) has assessed barriers preventing small harbor communities from becoming socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

Members of the project research team along with personnel from Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension facilitated in-depth visioning workshops in six coastal communities to help community members identify potential growth areas for their waterfronts. By May 2017, the team will publish a guidebook to help other coastal communities analyze their own waterfront assets and develop strategies to bolster their long-term economic, social, and environmental stability.

“This effort empowers communities to overcome the burdens of their historic legacies,” says Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes. “The process engaged community members in constructive conversations to create a shared vision.”

The 90-minute webinar will provide an overview of the project’s history, major findings and outcomes, and future directions. Representatives from the cities of New Baltimore and Ontonagon will speak about their experiences with the project. The webinar will conclude with an open question-and-answer session.

Registration is required to participate in this webinar, scheduled for May 8, 2017, at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT. Please register at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar. Learn more about the project at:

Contact: Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant; (734) 647-0767, 

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Dan O’Keefe receives Dr. Howard A. Tanner Award

Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association honors O’Keefe’s contributions to sport fishery.

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Dr. Dan O’Keefe (right) recently received the Dr. Howard Tanner Award from the Michigan Steelheaders and Salmon Fishermen’s Association. Dr. Tanner is shown at left.

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Dr. Dan O’Keefe (right) recently received the Dr. Howard Tanner Award from the Michigan Steelheaders and Salmon Fishermen’s Association. Dr. Tanner is shown at left. Courtesy photo

The Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fisherman’s Association recently awarded Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Dr. Daniel O’Keefe with the Dr. Howard A. Tanner Award for his contributions to Michigan’s sport fishery.

“Dan O’Keefe believes education is a critical component of natural resource management and the importance of knowledge in making sound decisions has been the cornerstone of his contributions to our anadromous sport fishery,” said Dennis Eade, Michigan Steelheaders executive director.

O’Keefe, a Michigan State University Extension educator who serves seven counties along the coast of Lake Michigan, graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s of science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. He received his master’s in biology at Central Michigan University and his doctorate in Wildlife and Fisheries from Mississippi State University. He has been with Michigan Sea Grant for nine years.

O’Keefe has developed many education and outreach programs, including:

  • Citizen science programs such as the Salmon Ambassadors and the Great Lakes Angler Diary.
  • Organizes fishery workshops and brings together fisheries managers, biologists, scientists, state and federal agency personnel, charter fishing captains and sport fishers alike to consider what is occurring in the ecosystem and what will impact the sustainability of the Great Lakes fishery.
  • Completed study of charter and tournament fishing economic impacts and post-study evaluation that indicated results led to greater appreciation for the value of a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Compiled public input on controversial issues. Coordinated with Michigan DNR regarding fisheries issues in preparation for basin-wide management plans, a governor-appointed council regarding development of offshore wind energy legislation, and a Michigan House of Representatives committee regarding Asian carp and other invasive species.

“Dr. Howard Tanner is an icon in the fisheries world and I’m honored to be receiving an award named after him,” O’Keefe said. “It’s important to me that citizens receive the best available scientific information and get involved in Great Lakes fisheries management.”

Tanner served as Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division chief during the 1960s and was key in bringing about salmon stocking in the Great Lakes. He was then director of Natural Resource at MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and eventually returned to the state as MDNR director.

The Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association is the largest sport fishing association in the Great Lakes Basin and has 14 chapters throughout Michigan which protect, promote and enhance sport fishing in the Great Lakes and connecting waterways.

Voice your support for Michigan Sea Grant

Dear Friends of Michigan Sea Grant,
For nearly 50 years, Michigan Sea Grant has provided research, outreach, and education that help keep the Great Lakes great. Thousands of people had their first boating experiences and connected with the Great Lakes in our vessel-based learning programs. Beachgoers are more aware of dangerous currents and have access to safety equipment due to our efforts. Seafood supply chains are safer thanks to our seafood safety training. The targeted research we provide addresses pressing coastal problems, and our Extension educators are a trusted resource living in and working for coastal communities around the state.
The Administration’s proposal in the FY 2017 Security Supplemental would cut the National Sea Grant College Program by $30 million. Such a reduction with five months remaining in this fiscal year would effectively terminate Michigan Sea Grant and the 32 other Sea Grant programs immediately. We ask that you contact your representative and urge them to reject the FY 2017 Security Supplemental that would cut all funding for our program immediately and to reject the FY 2018 proposal to zero out and terminate the Sea Grant program.
If you value Michigan’s coastal communities and the work Michigan Sea Grant does to support them, I hope you will consider contacting your representative to let them know. To help, here are a sample letter and email (click to download documents) that you can use to contact them, as well as searchable databases for you to locate your representatives.
Thank you for your support,
James S. Diana           
Director, Michigan Sea Grant

This entry was posted in News.

Schoolship offers many students their first boating experience

Great Lakes Education Program now registering classrooms in southeast Michigan to join the fun.

Thousands of students in southeast Michigan have participated in the Great Lakes Education Program. Registration for 2017 is now open. Photo: Steve Stewart | Michigan Sea Grant

Thousands of students in southeast Michigan have participated in the Great Lakes Education Program. Registration for 2017 is now open. Photo: Steve Stewart | Michigan Sea Grant

If you are a teacher in southeast Michigan and want to introduce your students to the Great Lakes, what should you do? Participating in the Great Lakes Education Program, which begins its 27th year of classroom and vessel-based education in April, is a sure way to accomplish your goal.

If you value the effectiveness of combining classroom and out-of-classroom learning, you’ll want to be a part of this award-winning program. If you appreciate how important the Great Lakes are to all of us, and that we share a common ownership of and stewardship responsibility for the lakes, you can be sure this program will make a big impact on students.

Teachers who have already participated report that it does an excellent job of helping them meet Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations, Michigan K-12 Science Standards, and the regional Great Lakes Literacy principles, and that 95 percent of their students felt more knowledgeable about Great Lakes science after participating.

Nearly 110,000 students and adults have learned more about the Great Lakes since 1991 by participating in the Great Lakes Education Program. Designed though a collaboration involving Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the program provides students, their teachers and adult chaperones with an unforgettable on-the-water learning experience. With locations on both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, it is easy for schools throughout southeast Michigan to participate.

Registration is now open for the spring 2017 Great Lakes Education Program season, which runs from mid-April through mid-June. For more complete information on the program, the spring season calendar, our locations, cost, and how to register, simply go to the Great Lakes Education Program website. We look forward to having you join us in 2017 as we continue our education focusing on the Great Lakes.

How can we stop drownings in the Great Lakes?

Water safety conference to address ways to improve safety, education and more

Water rescue safety stations have been installed on beaches in northern Lake Michigan. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Water rescue safety stations have been installed on beaches in northern Lake Michigan. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Rip, structural, outlet, and channel currents continue to take the lives of many swimmers each year in the Great Lakes. Each of these types of dangerous currents have unique characteristics that pose a danger to swimmers. Learn why drownings in the Great Lakes were up 78 percent last year and what you can do about it. Many coastal communities are working together on water safety measures that will help protect swimmers using their beaches.

Join the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium for compelling presentations by and networking opportunities with experts in water safety, risk communication, lifeguarding, beach safety, and hazard mitigation. Speakers from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, National Weather Service, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, universities, and many others will share the latest science, techniques, and technologies. Upon completion of the conference, attendees will leave with new strategies, insights, and know-how to save lives in their communities and the best ways to respond in the event of a tragedy.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Michigan Sea Grant project looks at cisco restoration in Lake Michigan

How can cisco restoration efforts be tailored to fit the needs of Lake Michigan stakeholder groups?

A school of cisco swim in Lake Superior near Isle Royale National Park. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

A school of cisco swim in Lake Superior near Isle Royale National Park. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

The alewife supported the salmon fishery in the Great Lakes but had negative qualities such as high levels of thiaminase which interferes with reproduction of trout and salmon. The alewife also is a predator on many of our native larval fish and thus affects recruitment of species such as lake trout and walleye. The cisco, which is a native species, does not share these negative attributes of the alewife.

In recent years the alewife population has declined in lakes Huron and Michigan which has led to a window where the native cisco might recover in areas where there are remnant populations or be reintroduced into areas where it no longer exists. Many stakeholders have promoted the reintroduction of cisco. Though many stakeholder groups are interested in restoring cisco, they disagree on the best approach. Some advocate helping remnant populations recover, while others recommend stocking Lake Michigan with young cisco from Lake Michigan’s remnant population or from elsewhere in the Great Lakes region. Michigan Sea Grant has an integrated assessment project underway on Cisco Restoration in Lake Michigan (PDF). During an integrated assessment project researchers work closely with stakeholders to examine an issue from many perspectives, identify challenges, and evaluate feasible solutions.

If stocking of cisco is to occur some issues that need to be resolved are the development of hatchery facilities that can produce large numbers of cisco and the genetic lines that should be used in this rehabilitation effort. Restoration through hatchery production can result in loss of genetic variability because eggs and milt often are taken from a relatively small number of individuals that may not be a good representation of the gene pool of the entire population. Ecological conditions in the lakes have changed drastically and there is concern whether cisco could survive once stocked.

As part of the Michigan Sea Grant project a research team led by Sara Alderstein, an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan, will use existing data and guided workshops and discussions to help stakeholders create a path for cisco restoration in Lake Michigan. Michigan Sea Grant Extension recently presented information on this project at the Lake Michigan Technical Committee meeting and at the Annual Michigan Fish Producers Association Conference. A workshop is planned this summer during the Lake Michigan Technical Committee. Through the workshops, the project team will provide a framework for helping managers and the fishing community advance a preferred option for Lake Michigan cisco restoration.

Northeast Michigan place-based education network explores Environmental-STEM learning opportunities

School and community partners from the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative explore how environmental-STEM learning can support student engagement in Great Lakes stewardship.

MSU Extension educator Tracy D'Augustino (standing) works with teachers during the recent Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network meeting. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

MSU Extension educator Tracy D’Augustino (standing) works with teachers during the recent Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network meeting. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Imagine students spending an entire year studying marine debris and auditing their school cafeteria to learn about single-use versus reusable plastics – and then getting really excited to share their results with their entire school and community. This is just one example of a school project success story teachers learned about during a recent conference.

The Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network partnership supports place-based stewardship education and connects schools with community partners, educators and youth seeking to enhance their learning through Great Lakes and natural resource stewardship projects.

Last month, more than 75 educators and community partners celebrated successes through this partnership during the 12th annual regional NEMIGLSI network meeting held in Alpena, Michigan. Facilitated by Michigan State University Extension (Michigan Sea Grant and 4-H Youth), NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Huron Pines AmeriCorps— among other leadership partner, this regional meeting serves to strengthen school-community partnerships across the region. Educators from more than a dozen schools came together with community partners to share educational presentations, trade resources and explore new ideas.

This year’s meeting offered an opportunity to celebrate a recent international Innovative Education award recognizing the NEMIGLSI network’s excellence in engaging students in environmental-STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning experiences. This award from UL (underwriter laboratories) and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) reflects how northeast Michigan students are applying their e-STEM learning in accomplishing meaningful stewardship projects of importance to their local communities. Christiane Maertens, Deputy Director from NAAEE, kicked off this year’s meaning as keynote speaker addressing the importance of this effort to engage youth, through their e-STEM learning, in environmental stewardship projects locally.

Engaging youth as community partners and leaders is a core principle for the NEMIGLSI network, and this meeting looked to cross-tie a series of new Guiding Principles for Exemplary Place-Based Stewardship Education (PBSE), a set of principles co-developed in collaboration with the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and nine statewide GLSI network hubs with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Drawing on the expertise of local NEMIGLSI network educators, the day’s educational panel presentations also included perspectives toward e-STEM learning applied in context of PBSE guidelines and best practices. These panelists shared as follows:

  • Setting the focus: Community as the classroom (Tina Denbleyker, Lincoln Elementary, Alpena Public Schools) – Denbleyker has recently engaged her students in exploring local pollinator habitats along the Thunder Bay River within the city limits of Alpena. She shared how easy it was to take students on exploratory walks within their own community, connect pollinator (monarch butterfly) studies with important learning objectives like life cycles, and to connect with community partners. The city welcomed her student explorations, and even changed mowing practices to protect important pollinator habitats identified by students.
  • Foundations for Place-Based Teaching: Team teaching, school culture, and community collaborations (Mike Berenkowski, Tim Lee, Matt Hinckley, and Matt McDougall, Oscoda Area Schools) – This Oscoda school educator team has excelled in integrating PBSE practices as a core educational strategy in their school. They shared a wide variety of projects that connected students with community partners, engaged students in environmental stewardship, and enhanced learning goals for their school. These educators stressed the importance of team teaching, coordinating with school administrators, and communicating student projects successes with community.
  • Foundation for Place-Based Learning: Interdisciplinary opportunities in Shipwreck Alley (John Caplis, Alpena High School) – An Earth Science class, Caplis has designed his Shipwreck Alley course as a community-centered and interdisciplinary learning experience for students. His class incorporates history and social studies, Great Lakes science and ecology, and student leadership in community development projects such as the Great Lakes fisheries heritage exhibit in development with the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. Caplis centers his student studies on their local community and Great Lakes resources – from which many hands-on and interdisciplinary learning opportunities arise for students.
  • Deepening the Impact: One issue, many projects, lots of learning (Alecia Deitz, All Saints Catholic School) – A simple question centered on the issue of marine debris in the Great Lakes launched Deitz into a year-long learning opportunity with students. Students conducted class cafeteria audits for single-use versus reusable plastics, and after collecting data, they hosted a schoolwide assembly where they highlighted the impact of the marine debris on the environment and shared the collected weekly tally for single-use plastics. Expanding their work into the community, students presented their research during the Thunder Bay International Film Festival and partnered in the NOAA Students for Zero Waste Week. Their efforts continued into student-led litter clean-up efforts and culminated with a student-planned Friday Earth Day Celebration complete with a ‘Trashion’ show. Most impressively, the artwork of Malley M., a 2015-16 eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School local youth leader was featured in the national 2017 NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. Deitz’s students illustrate how one Great Lakes issue can lead to lots of learning and many student leadership opportunities.

As part of the event, participants also learned about zero waste strategies as drink and food containers were reused or recycled and food waste and paper products were collected for composting. Less than a grocery bag of trash resulted from this meeting including more than 75 people attending.

In 2017, supported by Great Lakes Fishery Trust’s Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative funding, the NEMIGLSI network served 32 schools, supported 110 educators, and engaged 5,155 youth in place-based stewardship education experiences. These project partnerships show how place-based stewardship education strategies can enhance school and student learning through hands-on science learning in their community. This regional meeting reflected on these accomplishments, discussed upcoming opportunities, and engaged participants in planning toward a brighter future for the NEMIGLSI network.

Boardman River Selective Fish Passage National Demonstration

Event Date: 4/11/2017

Keeping out the bad and encouraging the good!

April 11, 2017

ISEA Education Center, 100 Dame St., Suttons Bay, MI, 6:30–8 pm (Free to public)

This seminar will discuss a broad overview of the project and the preliminary ideas of the recently announced Selective Fish Passage Demonstration on the Boardman River. Announced by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Fall 2016, The Boardman River Union Street Dam site was chosen to implement a state-of-the-art system to keep adult sea lamprey upstream of the project site while allowing self-sustaining populations of various fish species to migrate to and from Lake Michigan and all the way up the Boardman River watershed. The project is in its very initial stages of a possible 10 year experiment to be followed with a long-term operational mode allowing such selective fish passage.

Mark Breederland works with Great Lakes coastal communities and has done so for over 25 years. He is a field-based educator with the Michigan Sea Grant College Program, Michigan State University Extension serving the Northwest Lower Michigan area from his base in Traverse City. He is collaborating with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission on the Boardman River Selective Fish Passage Project as part of the education and outreach team.

Salmon Ambassador volunteers had mixed success for Chinook salmon in 2016 on Lake Michigan

Research shows wild salmon made up the majority of the catch in most regions.

Results from around Lake Michigan show that wild fish make up the majority of the catch, especially in Michigan ports near high-quality tributaries like the Manistee River and Pere Marquette River.

Results from around Lake Michigan show that wild fish make up the majority of the catch, especially in Michigan ports near high-quality tributaries like the Manistee River and Pere Marquette River.

The Salmon Ambassadors program is an angler science project led by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, and funded in part by Detroit Area Steelheaders. Anglers who volunteer for the program share information on their season’s catch with one another—and with biologists. Since 2014, anglers around Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron have been collecting data on stocked and wild Chinook salmon.

Volunteers measure the length of each Chinook salmon caught over the course of the fishing season and look for a clipped adipose fin that indicates a stocked fish. At the end of the season, volunteers complete a short survey and return their data sheets. Results from 2016 were released this week and are now available as fact sheets posted on the Salmon Ambassadors web page.

Increased angler satisfaction in Wisconsin

Overall angler satisfaction among volunteers increased in 2016. On a scale of one to five (five being the highest), average satisfaction with fishing experiences increased from 2.4 in 2015 to 3.1 in 2016. While this was encouraging, most of the increase was due to improvements in fishing on the west side of Lake Michigan, and in Wisconsin in particular.

In Wisconsin waters, angler satisfaction increased from 2.5 in 2015 to 4.2 in 2016. This coincided with big increases in catches of Chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, and steelhead reported by Wisconsin DNR (lake trout catch decreased in Wisconsin waters in 2016).

In Michigan, anglers did not fare so well – perhaps in part due to weather patterns that kept cool water along the Wisconsin shore for much of the summer. Angler satisfaction for Salmon Ambassadors fishing Michigan waters of Lake Michigan remained relatively low (2.4 in 2015; 2.5 in 2016).

Lake Huron anglers fared better, with volunteers in the northern part of the lake reporting that angler satisfaction increased from 2.3 in 2015 to 4.6 in 2016. The number of fish caught by Lake Huron volunteers also increased dramatically, from only 35 Chinook salmon in 2015 to 159 in 2016.

Wild salmon still dominate catches, particularly in Michigan

Since the lakewide program began in 2014, wild Chinook salmon have outnumbered stocked in all areas of Lake Michigan. In Michigan waters, the percent wild has consistently been highest at ports such as Manistee and Ludington, which are located at the mouths of rivers that offer excellent spawning habitat to migrating salmon.

Results from Michigan waters in 2016 found:

  • 83% wild in Manistee (including Onekema)
  • 86% wild in the Ludington area (including Pentwater)
  • 68% wild in the Grand Haven area (Whitehall to Saugatuck)
  • 67% wild in southwest Michigan (South Haven to St. Joseph)

In Wisconsin, stocked fish made up a slightly larger portion of the catch. This is probably due to a combination of factors including the lack of good spawning rivers in Wisconsin, higher number of stocked Chinook salmon in Wisconsin waters, and higher survival rate for Chinooks stocked in Wisconsin waters.

Results from Wisconsin waters in 2016 found:

  • 59% wild in Door Peninsula (including Kewaunee to Washington Island)
  • 60% wild in southern Wisconsin (including all ports form Sheboygan south to the state line)

Volunteers in Illinois and Indiana found that 70% of Chinook salmon in their catches were wild, while those fishing northern Lake Huron from the Mackinaw Straits to Rogers City found that only 33% of their catch was wild. This is likely due to the good number of mature ‘kings’ being caught in Rogers City as they returned to the Swan River in late summer.

Narrow margin of support for Lake Michigan stocking cuts

A proposal to reduce Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan was announced in June 2016. While the vast majority of anglers were supportive the 2013 stocking cut, the 2016 proposal was met with mixed reactions. Opponents of the proposed 62% Chinook salmon stocking reduction called for additional cuts to lake trout stocking.

Salmon Ambassadors were asked about their support for, or opposition to, a revised proposal that included a 21% reduction to lake trout stocking and a 50% reduction to Chinook salmon stocking. Volunteers expressed strong opinions on both sides of the issue, and many offered insightful comments regarding the state of the fishery and the need to adjust to a rapidly-changing ecosystem.

All in all, 51% of volunteers who responded to the survey (N=55) supported the revised stocking proposal. For Wisconsin and Michigan anglers, state of residence did not have a significant effect on support or opposition. Volunteers from Wisconsin and Michigan demonstrated similarly high knowledge of Great Lakes fisheries biology, and anglers from both states were also similar in their moderate level of trust in the ability of science to reflect actual conditions in Lake Michigan.

Volunteers trusted “percent wild” calculations more than other fisheries statistics, perhaps because of their own involvement in collecting this data. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest), volunteers rated their trust in “percent wild” at 4.0 as opposed to 3.5 for general trust in fisheries science and 3.0 for trust in estimates of alewife biomass. Most anglers agreed or strongly agreed that participation in Salmon Ambassadors made them more aware of what is going on in the Lake Michigan fishery (average 4.7 on the five-point scale).

Due to the success of this program and the support of anglers, fishing clubs, and natural resource agencies the Salmon Ambassadors program will be expanded and continued in 2017. See the MSUE article “Fishing for Answers” for more details.

CISMAs work together to manage invasive species

Homeowners can seek help from Michigan’s 17 Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas.

by Kip Cronk

Michigan’s Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (2016) are shown. There are 17 CISMAs in the state.

Michigan’s Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (2016) are shown. There are 17 CISMAs in the state.

Don’t feel alone in the battle against invasive species. In Michigan, there are 17 Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) that will assist private landowners with invasive species control. You can think of CISMAs as regional invasive species organizations – sort of a clearinghouse of expertise that brings managers together towards a common management goal. “Partner organizations, big and small, are what allow a CISMA to thrive,” said Katie Grzesiak of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network. “Many partners have supported a plethora of successful projects, from controlling invasive phragmites in Grand Traverse Bay to creating the ground-breaking Go Beyond Beauty program that encourages the voluntary removal of invasive species from ornamental landscapes.”

If you are dealing with an invasive species such as invasive phragmites, Japanese knotweed, or flowering rush, it can be overwhelming. Your local CISMA can assist you with technical assistance, identification, training, treatment, monitoring and a partnership. Each CISMA has its own priority species as there are too many invasive species in Michigan for each CISMA to manage them all. The most common invasive species being addressed by CISMAs at this time are invasive phragmites, Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard. “CISMAs are an excellent source of assistance for local landowners. They will help with a range of invasive species activities –—from teaching landowners simple steps for prevention, to helping with identification of unknown plants, to treatment and control,” said Christina Baugher of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “I am continually impressed by the work of Michigan’s CISMAs. As a state, we would not be where we are in the fight against invasives without them.”

If you are a private landowner battling invasive species, you should contact your local CISMA early to find out what their priority species are and what assistance they offer. Even if you have a species that is not one of their priorities, they most likely will be able to offer technical assistance through brochures and websites to help manage that specific species. Many CISMAs hire a summer Strike Team that manages their priority invasive species through identification, treatment and monitoring. At this time, some of the CISMAs do not charge for any of their services, whereas others have a cost share program. “The Saginaw Bay CISMA is proud to provide landowners with free treatment of their small infestations of invasives such as phragmites and Japanese knotweed. Without these treatments, the infestations are likely to spread and become a larger detriment to not only the initial landowner, but to their surrounding neighbors,” said Fallon Januska, coordinator of the Saginaw Bay CISMA.

The battle against invasive species can be difficult, but it is good to know that Michigan has so many organizations willing and able to assist private landowners and build partnerships with local organizations. It is recommended you manage invasive species on your property when they are first discovered. The larger the infestation, the more difficult they are to control. Take time today to contact your local CISMA. Take time today to volunteer with your local CISMA. Take time today to spread the word about your local CISMA. The Michigan Invasive Species Coalition has a list of all of the Michigan CISMAs and contact information on their website.