Homeowners can seek help from Michigan’s 17 Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas.

by Kip Cronk

Michigan’s Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (2016) are shown. There are 17 CISMAs in the state.

Don’t feel alone in the battle against invasive species. In Michigan, there are 17 Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) that will assist private landowners with invasive species control. You can think of CISMAs as regional invasive species organizations – sort of a clearinghouse of expertise that brings managers together towards a common management goal. “Partner organizations, big and small, are what allow a CISMA to thrive,” said Katie Grzesiak of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network. “Many partners have supported a plethora of successful projects, from controlling invasive phragmites in Grand Traverse Bay to creating the ground-breaking Go Beyond Beauty program that encourages the voluntary removal of invasive species from ornamental landscapes.”

If you are dealing with an invasive species such as invasive phragmites, Japanese knotweed, or flowering rush, it can be overwhelming. Your local CISMA can assist you with technical assistance, identification, training, treatment, monitoring and a partnership. Each CISMA has its own priority species as there are too many invasive species in Michigan for each CISMA to manage them all. The most common invasive species being addressed by CISMAs at this time are invasive phragmites, Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard. “CISMAs are an excellent source of assistance for local landowners. They will help with a range of invasive species activities –—from teaching landowners simple steps for prevention, to helping with identification of unknown plants, to treatment and control,” said Christina Baugher of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “I am continually impressed by the work of Michigan’s CISMAs. As a state, we would not be where we are in the fight against invasives without them.”

If you are a private landowner battling invasive species, you should contact your local CISMA early to find out what their priority species are and what assistance they offer. Even if you have a species that is not one of their priorities, they most likely will be able to offer technical assistance through brochures and websites to help manage that specific species. Many CISMAs hire a summer Strike Team that manages their priority invasive species through identification, treatment and monitoring. At this time, some of the CISMAs do not charge for any of their services, whereas others have a cost share program. “The Saginaw Bay CISMA is proud to provide landowners with free treatment of their small infestations of invasives such as phragmites and Japanese knotweed. Without these treatments, the infestations are likely to spread and become a larger detriment to not only the initial landowner, but to their surrounding neighbors,” said Fallon Januska, coordinator of the Saginaw Bay CISMA.

The battle against invasive species can be difficult, but it is good to know that Michigan has so many organizations willing and able to assist private landowners and build partnerships with local organizations. It is recommended you manage invasive species on your property when they are first discovered. The larger the infestation, the more difficult they are to control. Take time today to contact your local CISMA. Take time today to volunteer with your local CISMA. Take time today to spread the word about your local CISMA. The Michigan Invasive Species Coalition has a list of all of the Michigan CISMAs and contact information on their website.