by Mike Golas, President of Iron County Lakes & Streams Partnership and
Denise Fauntleroy, President of Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet

On August 9th-13th, 2021 Dr. Jo Latimore and Erick Elgin of MSU Extension visited Gogebic and Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula.  Their week-long event was hosted by the ISCCW-Watersmeet Lakeguards and the Iron County Lakes and Streams Partnership. They visited lakes in both Iron and Gogebic Counties.  Lakefront property owners and stakeholders discussed a variety of lake matters including shoreline health and the factors that affect shorelines, shoreline restoration projects, plant identification, healthy native plant ecosystems, native wild rice beds and invasive aquatic plants.

The western Upper Peninsula is exposed to vectors of invasive species movement from Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and bordering and nearby states especially Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. However, while having some scattered but serious infestations of aquatic invasive species, the western UP is less impacted by colonies of AIS than southerly MI and WI locations. This makes it an interesting laboratory for application of technologies and practices that have evolved over the years that might be less effective against more established colonies of invasives. In addition, users of local water bodies are now much better educated about and prepared to deal with and prevent aquatic invasive species than we were years ago. MSU Extension, MiCorps, Michigan DNR Conservation Officers, USFS, local invasive species management teams including conservation districts, township governments and many others have elevated the level of protection and the variety of aquatic invasive species management techniques now being applied. The strategy of “awareness, education, technology application and cooperation” might be a bit more effective in the UP thanks to years of experience and knowledge gained throughout Michigan. We also have the opportunity, because we can leverage the prior experiences and resources of others, to focus on the most effective programs of invasive species prevention and control.

Jo and Erick’s on-site visits bring valuable experiences and resources to the western UP and fortify our ability to effectively and efficiently form customized strategies to fit our unique ecosystems. Not all lakes, shorelines and invasive colonies are the same. MSU Extension’s suite of resources helps us pick and choose the best method that can lead to the most effective management practices and outcomes.
This popular program will return to Iron and Gogebic Counties in August 2022.

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