Invasive species are more than a nuisance. They are a threat to native plants and animals.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources launched the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program to help counter nonnative invaders. Through this program, 20 grant projects have been awarded more than $4 million.
“These grants will fund crucial work in battling invasive species, which pose a significant threat to Michigan’s world-class natural resources,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “State agencies can’t undertake this effort alone. Partnerships are vital to keeping our waters, woods and coasts thriving as healthy ecosystems, while at the same time providing the economic and recreational benefits that citizens expect from their outdoor experiences.”
Projects funded in this round of grants include plans to:
- Map and treat of oak wilt (a serious disease that can kill oak trees) in Alpena, Dickinson and Menominee counties.
- Enhance the regional collaboration of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters campaign to support prevention, outreach and education efforts statewide.
- Better integrate aquatic invasives plan management by evaluating, refining and expanding tools and resources available in Southwest Michigan.
The grant program is central to Michigan’s new invasive species initiative. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature provided $5 million in ongoing funding to fight invasive species. A minimum of $3.6 million is devoted toward grants annually.
The DNR received 68 applications, totaling more than $15 million in proposals, in October 2014. Projects funded in this grant cycle must be completed by Oct. 30, 2016. The applicants were asked to provide at least 10 percent of the cost through a local match.
“Clearly, there is an enormous need and a great willingness on the part of people to work together to address invasive species in Michigan,” said Tammy Newcomb, senior water policy advisor for the DNR, the agency that will administer the grant program. “We look forward to continuing this important work with next year’s grants program.”