ISN hosted public workbees in Grand Traverse, Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau Counties. We would like to thank the 44 enthusiastic volunteers who put in over 132 hours of work pulling garlic mustard this month. With their help, ISN pulled more than 5,300 pounds from over 11 acres of high quality habitat. A big thanks to our partners, Oryana for providing a delicious garlic mustard lunch, our lunch host sites, and our volunteers for coming out rain or shine (or snow!) and making a huge dent in the populations of this invasive species at Magoon Creek, Tank Hill, Clay Cliffs, and the Nature Education Reserve at Oleson Bridge. Check out photos from our workbees!
Much of the garlic mustard we collect is shared with Paperworks Studios and turned into paper and greeting cards. Learn more about this exciting partnership as featured on 9&10 News and in the Record Eagle. Shop for garlic mustard greeting cards here!
We are gearing up for Japanese knotweed treatment! Japanese knotweed is a very tricky plant to control, and is a major threat to Michigan’s streams, wetlands, and other high quality habitats.
ISN had some big goals!
When partners met this midsummer, garlic mustard, invasive phragmites, Japanese and giant knotweed, and Oriental bittersweet were identified as our highest-priority plants for the region. We then surveyed over 10,290 acres and 170 miles of shorelines–including shores of rivers, inland lakes, and Lake Michigan–to look for top-priority invasives. Though specifics varied by county, removing these plants from high quality natural areas and areas that would increase spread by the invaders (like roadsides) were made the main target for treatment.
Using grant money to protect high-quality habitats
Partners decided which areas that had been surveyed or had reported populations should be treated, many of which were public lands and State Game Areas. We applied for Aquatic Nuisance Control permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, gathered appropriate permissions, and coordinated treatments. This year, we were able to treat approximately 3,160 acres of high-priority invasive plants in the region to safeguard these crucial native habitats.
We’re also seeing some amazing native plant regrowth in areas that are now nearly phragmites-free! Many partners, like Portage Lake Watershed Forever, have seen similar results.
The Japanese knotweed project is newer and the plant is even harder to control than phragmites, often taking three or four years to control. With continuing to work with the DNR for best treatment options, we are hoping to see significant dents in treated knotweed populations come spring.
Garlic mustard is possibly the easiest to see great preliminary results with, though true control requires more time due to a long-lasting seed bank. This year, volunteers at the Tippy Dam pull in Manistee County reported that populations of this target plant were much lower than in previous years from pulling alone. Herbicide treatments this fall should help stem the tide of seedlings, making next spring’s work bees that much more effective! Similar results from pulling were seen at the Great Garlic Mustard Hunt in Grand Traverse County, and area where garlic mustard is still an early-stage invader.
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