State announces $3.6 million in grant funding to target invasive species

MARQUETTE — Funding proposals for 2017 now are being accepted through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, with an anticipated $3.6 million available to applicants, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources press release states.

The program — a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development – is part of a statewide initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species in Michigan.

An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan’s economy, environment or human health.

“Michigan’s world-class natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities — and the local economies they help support — are under threat from a growing variety of invasive species in our woods and water,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is a valuable resource that allows us to team up with community partners across the state to find new and better ways of preventing and containing these damaging land and water invaders.”

Program handbook, informational webinar

The 2017 grant program handbook, outlining focus areas and information on how to apply, is available on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants. A live webinar explaining the 2017 grant process and focus areas is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, from 2 to 3 p.m. Interested applicants can register for the webinar at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. A recorded version of the webinar also will be available at this website after May 23.

Program progress

Administered by the DNR, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program supports projects throughout the state that prevent, detect, manage and eradicate invasive species on the ground and in the water. Total program funding is set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.

To date, the program has provided more than $11 million in grant funding, resulting in management of invasive species including Phragmites, Japanese knotweed and oak wilt disease on over 17,000 acres of public and private land and water statewide. New approaches for treating aquatic invasive species, including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort and sea lamprey are being explored. Highlights of the 2016 program can be found in the Michigan Invasive Species Program Annual Report.

Regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas are operating in 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties, providing assistance to the public in identifying and managing invasive species. Contact information for individual CISMAs can be found in the Local Resources section of the invasive species website.

Focus areas for 2017

The 2017 grant program encourages the development of regional CISMAs in the six counties currently without coverage: Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, St. Joseph and Washtenaw. The program also offers continued support for existing CISMAs statewide.

Proposals to advance methods of aquatic invasive plant control are being sought in 2017, as well as those undertaking surveillance for emerging or potential infestations of hemlock woolly adelgid, balsam woolly adelgid, thousand cankers disease and/or Asian longhorned beetle in Michigan.

Invasive species prevention activities are highlighted in this year’s program, including those that reduce the risk of spreading invasive species through movement of firewood, a primary pathway for tree diseases and pests.

Proposals addressing the spread of invasive species through recreational activities including land and water trail use, boating, angling, hunting and camping, also are encouraged.