By Kip Cronk
Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA)
Saginaw Conservation District
As of 2016 there are 19 Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) throughout Michigan. The goal of the CISMAs is to create and support collaborative invasive species management among federal and state agencies, municipalities, tribes, non-profits, community organizations, and private landowners. The CISMAs promote invasive species education and outreach, inventory as well as prevention and treatment. Many of the CISMAs are funded through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP). Information about each of the CISMAs can be found on the Michigan’s Invasive Species Coalition website (http://www.michiganinvasives.org/managementareas/), along with other useful information regarding invasive species in Michigan.
The Saginaw Bay CISMA is comprised of over 6.5 million acres of land all of whose water drains into the Saginaw Bay. That area is spread over 15 counties with a population of 2.5 million. Even though there are a few major urban areas, the vast majority of the watershed is rural.
The ecological impacts of invasive species include degradation of water quality, loss of wildlife habitat, and replacement of native vegetation in our natural areas and open spaces. After habitat loss, invasive species have been recognized as the second largest danger to threatened and endanger species. Invasive species cause billions of dollar in damage throughout the United States every year.
The priority invasive species for the Saginaw CISMA are Black Swallow-wort, European Frog-bit, Flowering Rush, Japanese Knotweed, Pale Swallow-wort and non-native phragmites. We are working with the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) to map their locations, and would encourage everyone to use their smartphone app to report invasive species. Using the mapped invasive species, we hire a Strike Team every summer that verifies the invasive species, and manages them by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs for the priority species range from hand removal to herbicide application. Treatment is also conducted by the individual members of the Saginaw Bay CISMA. In addition, the Saginaw Bay CISMA and all of its partners are constantly doing outreach to the public and creating innovative education materials regarding invasive species.
The 19 CISMAs located throughout Michigan are effectively bringing people together to manage the invasive species that keep finding their way into our beautiful state. Working together, there is hope that we can manage invasive species, and allow our natural ecological communities to thrive.
More information about the Saginaw Bay CISMA can be found at www.saginawcd.com/p/sbcisma. You can also “like us” on Facebook and read the latest updates regarding our efforts to combat invasive species at www.facebook.com/sbcisma.