Local CISMAs are Here to Help with Invasive Species Control

By: Vicki Sawicki Program Coordinator NCCISMA

Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are regional organizations that facilitate and assist with invasive species management among a variety of partners, ranging from private property owners and neighborhood associations to corporations, such as utility companies, and branches of government. Most of the counties in the Muskegon River Watershed are covered by one of two CISMAs:

• North Country CISMA (NCCISMA) covers Missaukee, Wexford, Osceola, Mecosta, Lake, and Mason Counties

• West Michigan CISMA (WMCISMA) covers Montcalm, Newaygo, Kent, Muskegon, Allegan, Ottawa, and Oceana Counties

While all CISMAs across the State of Michigan have the same basic objective, that is to reduce the spread of invasive species, they do not all have the same programs available toward that end goal. Michigan’s CISMAs are each governed by their own Steering Committee, made up of a group representative of that CISMA’s active partnerships. Decisions regarding the focus and strategies employed by each CISMA are made by their respective Steering Committee.

NCCISMA has a number of programs available to property owners needing assistance with invasive species plant identification and removal on their property. Most of the help available is for combating regional high priority species. For a list of these species and keys to identifying them visit the NCCISMA webpage at NorthCountryInvasives.org. If you suspect that you have some invasive plant species on your property and would like advice on how to remove these, NCCISMA is happy to visit your property to confirm identification, assess the infestation, and provide advice on proper removal techniques.

Japanese Knotweed

Phragmites

NCCISMA is targeting three of their high priority species in particular, with a program that rewards property owners $100 to treat these species on their own property. The species eligible for these rewards are Phragmites, Japanese knotweed, and oriental bittersweet. Treatments may be done by the property owners themselves, using techniques prescribed by NCCISMA, or by an herbiciding professional known by NCCISMA to have experience and expertise in treating invasive plant species. NCCISMA has a list of contractors that specialize in the treatment of invasive species that they can provide to landowners. To qualify for the reward program you must complete and submit an application through your Conservation District. Applications for the reward program will be available beginning on May 1st. To receive your reward, treatments should not commence until NCCISMA has approved your application.

To further assist property owners in addressing invasive species on their property, two pieces of specialized equipment are available for rent from the conservation district offices that partner with NCCISMA. This includes a Japanese knotweed injector, which is a tool that is used to inject herbicide directly into the stalks of knotweed plants, avoiding off target damage. The other specialized tool available for rent from NCCISMA’s partnering conservation districts is an Uprooter tool. This is a leverage tool that can be used to hand pull invasive shrubs such as buckthorn or autumn olive, with relative ease.

Uprooter

If you own property in one of the six counties served by NCCISMA, and need assistance with plant ID or advice on best management practices for specific species, contact NCCISMA by email at vicki.sawicki@nullmacd.org or by phone at 231-429-5072. Stop in to your local conservation district office to rent equipment or pick up a reward program application. Those with land in the counties served by WMCISMA can find out more about the programs available to them by asking at their local conservation district office, or by calling WMCISMA directly at 616-402-9608.