Phragmites — seen here along a road in Oakland Township — are an aggressive reed that choke out native plants, interfere with roadside drainage, easily catch fire and block roadways.

Phragmites — seen here along a road in Oakland Township — are an aggressive reed that choke out native plants, interfere with roadside drainage, easily catch fire and block roadways.

Photo provided by Oakland County Natural Areas Stewardship Manager Ben VanderWeide


Grant to help combat invasive species this summer

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published April 21, 2021

 European frog-bit, which has been found in Novi, is a free-floating aquatic plant that quickly forms dense colonies, preventing native plant growth, making movement difficult for ducks and large fish, and causing problems for boaters, anglers and swimmers.

European frog-bit, which has been found in Novi, is a free-floating aquatic plant that quickly forms dense colonies, preventing native plant growth, making movement difficult for ducks and large fish, and causing problems for boaters, anglers and swimmers.

Photo provided by Oakland County CISMA technician Emily Messick

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant program will help in the management of invasive species in Oakland County this summer.

The state program — implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Natural Resources — has awarded $3.6 million in this year’s grant cycle, funding 29 projects to help prevent the introduction of new invasive species and manage the spread of widely established invasive species throughout Michigan.

“Protecting our water and preserving our environment are essential to ensuring our economy, families and communities succeed,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

Locally, the Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area — also known as Oakland County CISMA — was awarded a $60,000 grant under the program.

The grant work, which will begin this summer, will support staff time for public outreach, coordinating invasive species control, and early detection and response to new invasive species, according to Oakland County CISMA Director Erica Clites.

“The grant money will be used for staff time primarily, and that includes things like organizing contractors to treat phragmites along county road right of ways and a number of public events,” Clites said. “Having that funding really just lets us play a bigger role throughout the county. Because we have the funding to support full time staff, we can host a lot more events and provide other resources that we just wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”

Oakland County CISMA is a collaboration of over 40 partners founded in 2014 to “support functioning ecosystems and enhance quality of life through invasive species management.” The group focuses on managing the spread of priority invasive species, including non-native phragmites, black and pale swallow-worts, knotweeds, European frog-bit, flowering rush, and red swamp crayfish. Other common invasive plants like buckthorns, autumn olive, garlic mustard, Asian bittersweet and purple loosestrife are also targeted by CISMA members.

Rochester Hills Natural Resources Manager Matt Einheuser, who serves as vice chair on the Oakland County CISMA board, said securing a grant to support CISMA staffing is “essential” to CISMA being successful and leading its collaboration of partners in the fight against invasive species.

“Invasive species don’t know community boundaries. They spread from property to property, so you need a regional effort and a regional approach to treatment,” he said. “Having the funding to support a CISMA coordinator and to help support what the CISMA does in general is super important to the county and also to the individual communities, like Rochester Hills.”

Oakland County CISMA Executive Committee Chair Amy Hillman said the grant will also allow the organization to continue serving Oakland County residents through webinars, online outreach, boat washes, workday events and more.

Upcoming CISMA events include:
• Virtual office hours with Oakland County CISMA Director Erica Clites 5-6 p.m. April 27 on Zoom.
• Rochester Hills garlic mustard pull at the Harding Green Space park, 940 W. Avon, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. May 1.
• Garlic mustard, dames rocket and other spring invasive species identification and control webinar 7-8 p.m. May 11 on Zoom.
• Polly Ann Trail garlic mustard pull in Oxford Township 9 a.m.-noon May 15.
• Public meeting about a European frog-bit project July 14. The location is to be determined.

The Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is a collaboration of over 40 partners founded in 2014 to support functioning ecosystems and to enhance quality of life through invasive species management.

For more information about Oakland County CISMA, visit oaklandinvasivespecies.org or call (248) 660-0716.

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