Six Rivers Land Conservancy Receives Two Grants to Fund Invasive Species Control

Six Rivers Land Conservancy was awarded two grants December 18, 2018 totaling $120,000 from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. Each grant will support a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) coordinator based in a geographic region. Six Rivers is the fiduciary for the Lake St. Clair CISMA in Macomb and St. Clair counties and for the Oakland County CISMA.

Six Rivers Land Conservancy

Six Rivers Land Conservancy

The two CISMA coordinators were hired this fall and can now continue their efforts into 2020. McKenzi Bergmoser is the CISMA Coordinator for the Lake St. Clair CISMA and Erica Clites is the CISMA Coordinator for Oakland County. Bergmoser shares: “I’m thrilled to be part of the efforts to control invasive species in the Lake St. Clair region. By coordinating our efforts, municipalities and non-profits can share best practices and gain economy of scale.”

Chris Bunch, Six Rivers Land Conservancy’s Executive Director continues: “Invasive species degrade natural habitat. Through its support of the CISMAs, Six Rivers is improving the natural value of lands in southeastern Michigan. Thanks to this funding, CISMA coordinators will continue to expand the reach of the program and inform the public about invasive species.”

Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area

Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area

The Oakland County CISMA is also a partner on another project funded by the Invasive Species Grant Program. Marianna Szucs, Assistant Professor of Entomology at Michigan State University, received $302,600 to initiate the first biological control program against invasive black and pale swallow-wort. The project will include rearing and releasing a moth at sites in Oakland and other counties to determine the moth’s effectiveness in controlling swallow-wort. Swallow-wort is a problematic invasive because it is toxic to mammals including horses and other livestock.

Szucs elaborates: “I am really glad that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is supporting our efforts to explore alternative management options against invasive weeds. Biological control can provide a long-term, self-sustaining method to halt the spread of swallow-worts and reduce existing populations. First it is important to understand how well the life history of this moth species is synchronized with the climate in Michigan, and how best to release them to ensure that they establish in the field.

Szucs continues: “We will conduct experimental releases of the biological control agent (moth) state-wide, evaluating different release methods both in terms of timing and release size, and will assess establishment success and potential early impact on swallow-worts.”

Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area

Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area

The Michigan Invasive Species grant program awarded 3.6 million dollars in this year’s grant cycle, including over two dozen projects.

The Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (LSC CISMA) is a partnership of local and state governments, non-profits, and property owners founded in 2015. United in their goal to prevent, detect, and control priority invasive species, the CISMA operates within the boundary of the vast, 2,100 square mile, Lake St Clair Watershed.

The Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (Oakland County CISMA) is a collaboration of 30+ partners founded in 2014 to help prevent the spread of invasive species in Oakland County.

Six Rivers Land Conservancy is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit located in Oakland Township whose mission is to conserve, sustain, and connect natural areas, lands, and waters that make the places we live special. We have currently protected over 2,000 acres in Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Lapeer, and Genesee Counties.

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