Michigan DNR awarding $3.6 million in grant money to fight invasive species

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Every year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources puts $3.6 million of grant money aside to help with the state’s invasive species problem.

This year, the state hopes more programs will apply for the grant money and over time help control the invasive populations.

“The biggest problem with invasive species is they typically don’t have competition when they get out into our environment,” said Jo Latimore.

Latimore is an aquatic ecologist and outreach specialist at Michigan State University.

She plans to apply for another round of grant money to continue with her team’s project known as “Ripple”

Which studies ways to keep invasive species from escaping things like aquariums and water gardens.

“Michigan happens to be a place where a lot of invasions are originating, just because we have so much water and there’s so much industry around water.”

“If you use the outdoors, you should care about what’s going on with this, and how these programs continue to benefit and move us forward in these invasions,” said Joanne Foreman.

Foreman is the invasive species communications coordinator for the DNR.

She says the funds help keep existing research going but can also go towards new studies and ones that could help educate the public.

“We’re really hoping we’ll have projects that will help folks understand the best ways to prevent moving invasive species from place to place,” said Foreman.

A key area this grant program targets is the state’s cooperative invasive species management areas, called cismas.

“Everything from invasive weeds that make it impossible to get a boat out, for kids to go swimming, or for families to go fishing, to invasive fish that can come in and totally mess up the food web in a system,” said Latimore.

Anyone is welcome to apply for the grants

“Most of us have heard about zebra mussels, or Asian carp, or some of these species that have really caused a lot of environmental and economic problems for our lakes and streams, and the good news is because they are typically introduced by human activity, we have some control over this environmental problem,” said Latimore.

The DNR is accepting grant applications online until November 1st.

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