State of Michigan announces details of the 2014 Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program

Funding and technical assistance to prevent, detect, and control terrestrial and aquatic invasive species now available to governmental units, nonprofit organizations and universities planning to go head-to-head with Michigan‘s invasive species.

Eurasian watermilfoil, a common invasive in many Michigan lakes

Eurasian watermilfoil, a common invasive in many Michigan lakes

Michigan has a great variety of native plants, or those that have naturally evolved in Michigan and which have existed in the state prior to European settlement. Undoubtedly, you have heard about at least one invasive plant that is wreaking havoc on Michigan’s ecosystems and has had a negative impact of some kind, whether it is an ecological, economic, social, and/or public health threat.

Unfortunately, invasive species are the second biggest threat, with habitat destruction being the biggest, to Michigan’s native diversity. They have already had major impacts on nearly all of the state’s natural communities. Invasive species are literally found everywhere in Michigan. They are present throughout our waterways, along roadsides, in forests and natural areas, in rural, urban and suburban environments.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) defines invasive plants as non-native, rapidly reproducing species which threaten the integrity of natural areas. Once established in an area, invasive species can have devastating effects. Once established, they often out-compete native species for limited resources including food and habitat, alter and damage existing habitat, displace native species and in some cases prey directly upon native species. All told, invasive species have been identified as serious threats to global and local biodiversity. Early detection and rapid response is the key to minimizing their impacts.

Help to combat Michigan invasive species has just been announced.  MDNR, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) have announced the 2014 Michigan Invasive Species Grants Program. The purpose of the program is to provide funding and technical assistance to prevent, detect, eradicate, and control terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.

The 2014 Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program’s four goals are:

  • To prevent new invasive species introductions through outreach and education efforts
  • To monitor for new invasive species as well as expansions of current invasive species
  • To respond and conduct eradication efforts to new findings and range expansions
  • To manage and control key colonized species in a strategic manner

The grant program is specifically geared toward on-the-ground activities which fall into one of the six identified focus areas determined to be the priorities for beginning the statewide strategic investment in invasive species management and control:  

  • Regional cooperative prevention, detection, eradication, and control through Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAS)
  • Integrated and novel approaches to treating Eurasian water milfoil and other aquatic invasive plant species in Michigan lakes and waterways
  • Reduction of forest disease incidence and transfer
  • Prevention of new forest invaders
  • Enhancing public reporting, species identification, and documentation of treatment histories for aquatic and terrestrial invasive species in Michigan
  • Other projects

Administration of this grant program is through MDNR working in collaboration with MDEQ and MDARD. A minimum of $3.5 million and up to $5 million is available in the 2014 granting cycle. Future funding will be based on state appropriations. Projects that are collaborative in nature will be scored higher than individual agencies or organizations. Minimum grant amount is $25,000. Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. on December 5, 2014.

Two informational webinars have been scheduled to give potential applicants the opportunity to learn more about the six grant program focus areas and proposal requirements. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask agency staff questions. For details regarding the webinars, the 2014 Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program Handbook, grant application, and staff contacts for questions are avalible on the , visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources webpage.

 For additional information on Michigan’s invasive species, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s invasive species web site.