There’s Still Time to Enroll in the Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch!

By Emma Costantino
North Country CISMA

There is no shortage of things to do out on the lakes in the summer. Fishing, swimming, and all sorts of water sports are fun ways spend an afternoon out on the water. Looking for another great reason to go out on the lake? Volunteer to monitor your lake for aquatic invasive plants.

Invasive species are those that are not native to Michigan and are likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, and/or human health. Invasive plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, can alter water quality, disrupt fish and wildlife habitat, impede recreation, and lower the property values of surrounding houses. Once an invasive species has become established in a lake, it is difficult and expensive to remove it. This is why it is important to identify aquatic invasive species early on.

Those living by a lake can protect the quality of their lake and monitor for invasive plants by enrolling in the Exotic Aquatic Watch (EAPW). The EAPW is part of MiCorps’ Cooperative Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP), a statewide program which trains people to monitor the water quality of their lakes. Whin the CLMP, there are many parameters people can enroll in, including the EAPW. Participants will be trained by Michigan State University Extension staff on to sample for and identify five aquatic invasive plants. Several of these plants are watch list species, which means that they have either not been found in Michigan yet, or have only been detected in small populations within the state. It is important to monitor for watch list species, as well as other invasive plants, to prevent them from spreading to more lakes.

Participants receive training from MSU Extension. Photo Credit: Jo Latimore

Even lakes that already hire companies to monitor for invasive species can still benefit from enrolling in the EAPW. When it comes to watching for aquatic invasive species, there is no such thing as too many eyes on the lake. The more people there are involved in monitoring for invasive species increases the likelihood that if an invasive plant is introduced, it can be spotted before it is impossible to eradicate.

Normally, the deadline to enroll in the EAPW is in the beginning of May, however this year it has been extended till August 31. Do not wait till next year to get involved. Visit www.micorps.net/lake-monitoring/ to enroll now. The fee for enrollment is $30.00. To offset this cost, the North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (NCCISMA) will be providing free sampling tool kits to enrolled lakes. These tool kits are a $120.00 value and can be reused for years. In addition to containing everything needed to sample for invasive plants, the tool kits also contain a Secchi disk for lakes enrolled in the Secchi disk program. For more information on the EAPW or to receive a free tool kit, contact Emma Costantino by calling (313) 570-6853 or by emailing emma.costantino@nullmacd.org.

NCCISMA is providing free sampling tool kits.

Emma Costantino is the North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (NCCISMA) Outreach Coordinator. She can be reached by calling (313) 570-6853 or by emailing emma.costantino@nullmacd.org. For more information about NCCISMA, visit www.NorthCountryInvasives.org.