2018 National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Part 1: Learn more about invasive species and what you can do to help fight this problem in Michigan.

The claws of the invasive red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo Credit: Mike MurphyPhoto Credit: Mike Murphy
The claws of the invasive red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo Credit: Mike MurphyPhoto Credit: Mike Murphy

National Invasive Species Awareness Week this year is Feb. 26 to March 2, 2018. The goal is to draw attention to invasive species and what individuals can do to stop the spread and introduction of them. To increase awareness of Michigan’s invasive species, Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant are publishing a series of articles featuring resources and programs in our state working on invasive species issues. Also, we will update previous information on the red swamp crayfish – a species we had hoped wasn’t in Michigan but was confirmed here in 2017.

What is an invasive species?

Invasive species are a threat to Michigan’s native diversity and are found everywhere in the state. Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources defines invasive species as non-native, rapidly reproducing species which threaten the integrity of natural areas. They can have devastating effects and often out-compete native species for limited resources including food and habitat. Invasive species sometimes alter and damage existing habitat, displace native species, and even prey on native species. Many invasive species are spread from place to place by human activity.

How can I help?

Here are 9 ways to help in the fight against invasive species from the National Invasive Species Awareness Week toolkit:

  1. Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your county extension office and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both trusted resources.
  2. Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org
  3. Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at Habitattitude.org
  4. Don't move firewood - instead, buy it where you'll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at DontMoveFirewood.org
  5. Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as "weed free."
  6. Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
  7. Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. Here is a state-by-state list of contacts
  8. Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
  9. Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.

Learn more

The National Association of Invasive Plant Council is one of the sponsors of the National Invasive Species Awareness Week. The organization will be holding several free webinars this week about invasive species:

  • 3 p.m. today (Feb. 26, 2018): SIIPA Model: Webmap on Early Detection and Rapid Response
    (The Spatial Invasive Infestation and Priority Analysis (SIIPA) model (built in ESRI ArcGIS software) was built to be a customizable tool for rapid application of a prioritization framework to known invasive populations within a preserve, management area, or region.)
  • 3 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 27, 2018): Legal Issues Surrounding Invasive Species Management
  • 4 p.m. Wed. (Feb. 28): Climate Change and Invasive Species
    (This seminar will review how climate change influences invasive species and how those changes might affect invasive species management.)
  • 3 p.m. (March 1, 2018): The Indiana CISMA Project|
    (The details an agreement that provides funding for a 5-year project aimed at developing a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) in each of Indiana’s 92 counties will be discussed.)

Additional resources

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

Read the entire 2018 National Invasive Species Awareness Week series:


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