Michigan’s lakes and rivers often bustle with a variety of paddlers. Kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard users explore the state’s many waterways in search of tranquility or adventure.
However, paddlers can accidentally carry aquatic invasive species from one waterbody to another. Paddlers are also well positioned to detect and report signs of new or increasingly established invasive species along their favorite waterways.
Michigan Sea Grant is empowering paddlers to protect the waters they love through the MI Paddle Stewards program.
The MI Paddle Stewards program consists of a three-hour, self-paced online training followed by optional in-person workshops. The program teaches paddlers to identify, report, and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Participants get tips for properly cleaning their boats and paddling equipment to avoid transferring aquatic invasive species and diseases between water bodies.
Michigan Sea Grant also offers train-the-trainer workshops for organizations who want to host their own MI Paddle Stewards workshops in their communities. The program provides partner organizations such as watershed councils, paddling groups, and invasive species management organizations with guidance and resources for hosting public events. Sign up to be notified of future train-the-trainer workshops in your area!
You can also sign up for the Water Trails email newsletter to receive paddling-related news blasts throughout the year.
MI Paddle Stewards online resources
Want to dive in deeper? Check out these resources about aquatic invasive species:
Core identification guides
- These identification guides are useful in identifying aquatic plants and animals on Michigan’s invasive species watchlist.
- Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society Plant Reference Chart (includes both native and invasive aquatic plants)
- Michigan Watch List Aquatic Invasive Plants: A Guide for Identification
- Field guide to Michigan crayfish (includes both native and invasive crayfish)
- MiCorps Exotic Aquatic Plant Watchlist, with printable scale bar for taking photos
- Additional guides can be found on the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Education website
Deeper dive identification guides