$3.6 million in grants available to fight invasive species in Michigan

LANSING — Funding proposals for 2019 now are being accepted through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, with an anticipated $3.6 million available to applicants. The program – a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development – is part of a statewide initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent, detect and control invasive species in Michigan.

An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan’s environment, economy or human health.

“From our old-growth forests and inland lakes and streams, to the unmatched sportfishing opportunities and thousands of miles of trails, Michigan is home to some truly world-class outdoor recreation opportunities,” said EGLE Director Dan Eichinger. “Unchecked invasive species pose serious threats to those resources and the outdoor economy. Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program is a valuable tool that allows us to work with community partners around the state to better fight and contain these land and water pests.”

The 2019 grant program handbook outlines priorities and application guidelines. Applicants also can take advantage of a two-part webinar on Tuesday, July 16. Part 1 starts at 9 a.m. and will focus on general grant information, 2019 priorities and the application process. Part 2 follows at 10 a.m. and will explain the Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area application process and funding for 2019. To register, visit https://www.michigan.gov/invasives/0,5664,7-324-71276_92000—,00.html.

Both the handbook and webinar registration information are available at Michigan.gov/Invasives. A recorded version of the webinar will be available at this website after July 19.

2019 priorities

This year the program is seeking projects targeting detection and control of high-risk invasive species, including European frogbit, Japanese stiltgrass, giant hogweed and hemlock woolly adelgid. Emphasis also is placed on efforts to increase public adoption of decontamination practices that prevent the spread of invasive species – like making sure that vehicles and recreational gear are free of plants and other debris.

Priority is given to support of Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas across the state and other regional efforts to manage invasive species. Projects to improve biological understanding and advance control methods for established species including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort, oak wilt and Japanese and giant knotweed also are requested.

Program progress

The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program supports projects throughout the state that prevent, detect, manage and eradicate invasive species on the ground and in the water. Total program funding is set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.

Since its inception, the program has awarded over $18.5 million to 112 projects, resulting in management of invasive species including hemlock woolly adelgid, phragmites and Japanese knotweed on more than 35,000 acres of land and water statewide.

Studies on the effects of European frogbit and didymo (also known as “rock snot”) on the Great Lakes ecosystems currently are underway, as is research to develop beech bark disease-resistant trees for reforestation in Michigan. Highlights of the 2018 invasive species program are available in the Michigan Invasive Species Program Annual Report, which includes program-funded projects.

Regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas are operating in all of Michigan’s 83 counties, assisting the public in identifying and managing invasive species. Contact information for individual CISMAs can be found in the Local Resources section of the invasive species website.

Important program dates and information

Local, state, federal and tribal units of government, nonprofit organizations and universities may apply for funding to support invasive species projects in Michigan. For this 2019 funding cycle, the preproposal phase has been eliminated, and full project proposals are due Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Grant requests for 2019 general projects can range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $400,000. CISMAs can request up to $60,000 for annual implementation of prevention, detection and control activities and up to $40,000 for specific survey and treatment projects. Applicants must commit to provide a minimum of 10 percent (in the form of a local match) of the total project cost.

Competitive applications will outline clear objectives, propose significant ecological benefits, demonstrate diverse collaboration and show strong community support.

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