Grant funds will help fight invasive plant species. 

May 4, 2021

Grant funds will help fight invasive plant species. 

SCOTTVILLE — The North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (NCCISMA) has been awarded two new grants to continue its work to stop the spread of invasive species in northern Michigan. A grant for $50,000 of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, awarded by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), will be held by the Mason-Lake Conservation District. A second grant for $100,000 is from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP), and will be held by Mecosta Conservation District. The work that these grants will cover takes place throughout NCCISMA’s geographical area, including Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Osceola, and Wexford counties. 

The USFS grant, titled Parks as Showplaces for Control and Restoration, will allow NCCISMA to continue the work that it has been doing over the past several years, to remove invasive plants from area public parks and replace them with native species. Parks that have been the subject of previous work by NCCISMA include Lake City parks, Big Rapids parks and Mecosta County parks. 

At Paris Park, in Mecosta County, interpretive signage has been installed to highlight the work done there by NCCISMA. This new grant will allow for monitoring and maintenance of the work in the parks that has thus far been accomplished by NCCISMA, and will further allow for expansion of the program, to include invasive species control work at City of Cadillac and City of Ludington parks, including restoration planting and installation of interpretive signs at Cartier Park in Ludington. 

The MISGP grant, titled Winning the Battle Against Invasives: Protecting People and Places, not only provides core funding needed to keep NCCISMA operational, but includes funding to address two pressing concerns within the region, European frogbit and wild parsnip. With this funding NCCISMA will be performing surveys for European frogbit, a state watch list species that has not been found within NCCISMA’s counties, but is nearby in Kent and Oceana counties. 

Surveys will be performed at six lakes in Mason County that are all within 15 miles of the northernmost occurrence of this species on the west side of the state. Wild parsnip, which was first reported in the region in 2015, has been spreading rapidly from its apparent origin on the White Pine Trail in Osceola County. With this grant NCCISMA will coordinate efforts with the Osceola-Lake Conservation District to initiate control of this regional source population of wild parsnip. Wild parsnip poses a safety threat to humans, since exposure to the sap can cause severe burns to the skin. 

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