Thank you Leelanau Conservancy for honoring ISN as Conservation Partner of the Year, it's a great honor!
ISN was recognized for a variety of work with Leelanau Conservancy, ranging from recruiting volunteers for workbee events, providing information and training on invasive plants and identification, treatment of invasive species, education and presentations, and our Go Beyond Beauty program.
For the second year running, ISN has treated giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) in Manistee County. There are only 2 known populations, and with this plants severe human health implications, it's a major Early Detection and Response priority. We're pleased to report that this population was down to just 9 plants (1 adult and 8 juveniles); last year there were nearly 30, and 2 adults!
It's crucial for people to report sightings of all invasive species, but especially Early Detection plants like hogweed. Check out this great ID training module; there are some native look-alikes for this crazy plant.
On July 24 and 25, ISN Survey Technicians (Audrey and Sarah) and Coordinator (Katie) traveled to West Michigan take part in a Field Trip & Identification Workshop put on by 2 sister groups: West Michigan Conservation Network and Three Shores CISMA. In addition to the invaluable time spent sharing experiences with CISMAs (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas) from across the state, we also got hands-on experience identifying Early Detection species. Many of these invaders, such as swallow-wort, hemlock woolly adelgid, and Chinese yam, are not yet in Northwest Michigan. The chance to see these plants up close was fantastic! After careful decontamination at each site to be sure we weren't spreading these invasive species, we came back. We're looking forward to putting this experience into practice on the ground as we continue to survey our region for new populations and species this year and in the future.
Want to learn more about these plants, but don't have time for a road trip? MISIN ID Modules are very helpful in pointing out ID characteristics and distinguishing similar species. Species observed that are not yet present in Northwest Michigan: black swallow-wort, Chinese yam, European frog-bit, giant hogweed, hemlock woolly adelgid, yellow floating heart.
Elberta Beach Baby's Breath:Volunteers wield newly-donated spades, developed after a successful restoration effort on Crystal Lake
With only one workbee remaining (August 3rd) we have many people to thank! Dozens of volunteer hours have been committed to removing invasive baby's breath from Elberta Beach and ISN wants to thank everyone who participated in this summer's efforts to restore a special stretch of beach along Lake Michigan.
We also want to show extra appreciation to Bruce Baker, from Radius Garden, who donated five "Root Slayer" shovels to ISN! After tackling his own beach restoration project on Crystal Lake, in Benzie County, he developed a spade that would directly target the thick tap roots which baby's breath grows. They have been a great help!
July 2-8, 2017 marked Aquatic Invasive Species Week. It's always important to remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry your water-craft before and after entering a water body. Doing so will help reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species.
It's important to remember that not only motorized water-craft need to be Cleaned, Drained, and Dried! Kayaks, water boards, waders, and other items used while in the water should also be held to the same standard.
ISN hosted a Landing Blitz along with the Benzie Conservation District and Crystal Lake And Watershed Association as well as participated in one held by the Manistee Conservation District on Bear Lake with help from the Benzie Conservation District's Aquatic Invasive Species team.
Thank you to all who participated!
National Great Outdoors Month was first created as a week-long celebration of our great outdoors under former President Clinton in 1998. It grew under both the Bush and Obama administrations to expand to a full, month-long celebration. Not only are we celebrating the natural world and all of its benefits, but also the economic advantages.
I hope you take time this month, and every month, to appreciate nature and realize that habitat matters.
Elberta Beach Baby's Breath
Three of six baby's breath workbees have been completed on Elberta Beach this summer. Our hardworking volunteers arrive with their sleeves rolled-up to tackle this beach invader which is no easy task - baby's breath has a tap root that can grow up to 12 feet deep! Thank you to everyone who participates as well as local businesses who provide discounts to volunteers - Stormcloud Brewing, Crescent Bakery, and The Cabbage Shed.
Japanese Knotweed Training
On June 3rd, ISN hosted a Japanese Knotweed Community Training in Manistee County-we spent the morning learning about the origin of knotweed, identification, and methods for controlling it. Thank you to everyone who participated.
AmeriCorps ID/GPS Training
On June 5th, ISN hosted an AmericCorps ID/GPS Training event at the Boardman River Nature Center. The event started indoors with a presentation which included training on ISN's Top 20 invasive species, basic GPS use, and mapping using MISIN protocols. Later in the day we took to the outdoors to continue with hands-on training. While in the field the group learned how to use their GPS to navigate to a point, estimate area/density, and more.
The morning of our first Japanese Barberry Dumpster Day began with rain and an empty dumpster. However, at the closing of this event, the sun was shining and the 30-yard roll-off was teeming with barberry plants.
Japanese barberry is a highly invasive ornamental plant species that is still sold in nurseries and used by landscapers. Extremely hardy and lacking any predators, it quickly spreads into nearby natural areas -outcompeting native plants such as spring ephemerals and tree seedlings. Additionally, it is found to
harbor black-legged ticks which may carry Lyme Disease, making this plant both an ecological and public health threat.
Encouraging the removal of barberry from landscapes seemed to make perfect sense and thus, Dumpster Day was created. Landowners were encouraged to remove barberry plants, bring them to ISN, and in exchange, they received a $5.00 coupon for a non-invasive alternative - up to $50.00. Select participants from the Go Beyond Beauty program are accepting these coupons.
Community members from Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties brought barberry plants of all sizes. Some happily threw a single, young seedling over the side of the dumpster while others arrived hauling monstrous plants on trailers. By the end of the day, we had collected more than 100 plants - that's thousands of potential seeds that have been prevented from spreading into our critical natural areas!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this exciting event. Stay tuned as we hope to schedule at least one more Dumpster Day this summer.
ISN has completed a garlic mustard workbee in each of the four counties within our service area - Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, and Manistee. In total, we had 46 volunteers, treated 10 acres, and collected 80 bags of garlic mustard!
Employees and volunteers were rewarded with a complimentary lunch from ISN which contained garlic mustard. Minestrone soup and garlic mustard-pesto rolls, made by Oryana, was a great way to end the workbees, filling our bellies and warming us up.
If you want to join us for more workbees, we have our baby's breath events starting in June. Visit our website for additional details.
May is American Wetlands Month! Wetlands are an important part of the natural ecosystem and habitat for many native species.
Wetlands remove excess nutrients, toxins, and sediment from the water that flows through them. This is an important function that is key in keeping our local waters and environment in a healthy condition. Wetlands also reduce flooding by absorbing excess rain or river water.
To keep a well functioning wetland, it is also important to eradicate any invasive species from the area. Invasive species such as phragmites can quickly take over an area, reducing the function of the wetland and reducing the number of wildlife and plant life the wetland would otherwise support.
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