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Get ready for summer with “NotMISpecies” webinars

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) safeguards our state’s environment while supporting the economic growth and development crucial for Michigan’s future. And now that temperatures are finally warming up across Michigan many people will be heading outdoors. This year, EGLE is offering a series of webinars that offers tips to help everyone prevent and manage invasive species of both plants and animals to protect the places residents and visitors enjoy in the Tri-City area.

It’s no surprise with the warm weather comes with it more people from different areas. This brings about the chance of more invasive species being on the move. Decontamination (or “decon,” for short) is now an essential part of travel. Upcoming webinars will show people the best tools and methods for assuring no invasive hitchhikers tag along on their journeys. If invasive plants have crept onto someone’s property, NotMISpecies is also offering some do-it-yourself tips for management techniques.

Supported by the Michigan Invasive Species program, the monthly, hour long webinars are designed to keep people informed about available programs, current research, and emerging issues in the state and the Great Lakes region. Question and answer sessions and links to resources help attendees get the most out of each presentation.

The upcoming topics are: “Didymo: What You Need to Know” scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, June 9, this program will provide important information for anyone fishing or boating in Michigan’s rivers. The December 2021 discovery of didymo (also known as “rock snot”), an aquatic nuisance algae species, in the Upper Manistee River, signals the need for increased decontamination practices by all river and stream users.

Dr. Ashley Moerke of Lake Superior State University will provide an overview of didymo’s ecology, its potential effects on cold-water organisms, and what LSSU researchers are doing to better understand the spread, impacts, and potential triggers of didymo nuisance blooms. Moerke will be joined by staff from the Department of Natural Resources and EGLE to answer questions and discuss techniques to help prevent further spread.

Wednesday, July 27, at 9 a.m.; “Not in my backyard!” demonstrates how a landowner can control invasive plants in their landscape. Vicki Sawicki of North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and Elise Desjarlais of Lake to Lake \CISMA will share identification tips and treatment tricks for common invasives including garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, and several invasive shrubs. Learn the importance of monitoring, re-treating, and restoring beneficial vegetation after invasive species removal and how to get additional resources from your local CISMA.

The webinar series takes a break in August and will be back in September with more great information.

Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are partnerships of groups and individuals that work to address invasive species’ impacts on the environment, economy, and human health within a defined region. By collaborating across jurisdictional boundaries, CISMAs work to leverage resources and overcome challenges associated with the prevention, early detection, response, and control of invasive species. Each CISMA is governed by a steering committee and priorities identified within a strategic plan.

This area’s local CISMA is called Southwest by Southwest Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (SW x SW CISMA). It covers Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. The coordinator, Alex Florian, can be reached by email at; invasivesed@vanburencd.org or by phone at 269-657-4030. The co-coordinator, Abbie Bristol, can be reached at 269-633-904. Anyone having questions about invasive species or if they are interested in becoming involved in efforts to prevent and control invasive species in the Tri-City area call today.

Take some time to catch up on topics missed, including this year’s forecast for spongy moth (formerly gypsy moth), collaborative efforts in invasive carp management, and the threat posed by spotted lanternfly by viewing recorded versions of all previous NotMISpecies webinars available at Michigan.gov/EGLE/Outreach under “Featured Webinar Series.”

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