Have an invasive species in your yard? Connect with your local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) to find a solution
There are 22 CISMAs across the state tracking and treating invasive species on public and private lands.
Don’t feel alone in the battle against invasive species in your yard - you have a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) that can help you! CISMAs are regional invasive species cooperatives and a clearinghouse of expertise and experience that every Michigan landowner should be aware of and utilize. If you are dealing with an invasive species such as invasive phragmites or Japanese knotweed it can be overwhelming and frustrating.
Your local CISMA can provide technical assistance, identification tools, training workshops, treatment options, monitoring assistance and even sometimes educational materials you can share with your neighbors to prevent it from spreading. There are 22 CISMAs in Michigan servicing all 83 Michigan counties. CISMA service areas are divided along county lines and are housed in Conservation Districts, universities, county government departments, or non-profit organizations.
“CISMAs are an excellent source of assistance for local landowners. They help with a range of invasive species activities from teaching landowners simple steps for prevention, to helping with identification of unknown plants, to treatment and control,” said Christina Baugher of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “I am continually impressed by the work of Michigan’s CISMAs. As a state, we would not be where we are in the fight against invasives without them.”
It is best to manage invasive species on your property when they are first discovered. The larger the infestation, the more difficult they are to control. If you are battling invasive species, reach out to your local CISMA and find out what their priority species are and what assistance they can offer. Each CISMA focuses their efforts on a handful of priority species. Even if you have something that is not on their priority list, they can still offer recommendations and resources. Many have equipment available to rent such as herbicide injectors and root pullers that can make managing small patches easy. CISMAs also frequently hire summer strike teams that identify, treat, and monitor invasive species in their service areas. Some CISMAs do not charge for their services, whereas others have cost share programs.
CISMAs are made up of local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, volunteers and sometimes Michigan State University Extension staff. Many were started by government agencies wanting to take a regional approach to invasive species management. No matter how a CISMA was formed their goal is the same: to work collaboratively to effectively manage invasive species in their area.
“Partner organizations, big and small, are what allow a CISMA to thrive,” said Katie Grzesiak, of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network. “Many partners have supported a plethora of successful projects, from controlling invasive phragmites in Grand Traverse Bay to creating the ground-breaking Go Beyond Beauty program that encourages the voluntary removal of invasive species from ornamental landscapes.”
While monitoring and treatment are a focus for many CISMAs, they also conduct a variety of educational activities in their service areas. Many host trainings for municipalities and landowners, attend community events with educational booths, and give invasive species presentations to civic organizations. They also produce a variety of educational materials pertaining to identification and treatment options for species prevalent in their regions.
Take your invasive species knowledge to the next level and connect with other conservation organizations in your area through your local CISMA. You can learn more about invasive species and find a complete list of Michigan CISMAs and their contact information on the Michigan Invasive Species Coalition website.