What is an invasive species?
An invasive species is an organism that is not native to an area and has negative impacts on the economy, environment, or human health.
Why care about invasive species?
Invasive species are proven to have detrimental effects on the value of land and water. There are many examples of how invasive species have a negative impact in Michigan:
- The sap from wild parsnip can cause serve blistering on human skin.
- Japanese knotweed, which is able to grow through cement, can damage building foundations, roads, and other infrastructures.
- Many aquatic invasive species including European frog-bit can tangle the propellers of boats and inhibit recreation on the water.
- Invasive pests like the Asian Longhorn Beetle bore into and eventually kill native trees.
How are invasive species managed?
The first step in invasive species management is awareness of the problem. There are many, many exotic (that is non-native) species in our landscape that never become invasive. Sadly, historically there is not general recognition that a particular organism (plant or animal) is posing an invasive threat until the problem is already out of hand. By then eradication overall is not feasible and the cost keeping such invasives from further destruction of native habitats or recreational and aesthetic land value becomes very high.
What is a high priority species?
High priority species are invasive plants that have been shown elsewhere to have the potential for adverse landscape level impacts, but which the NCCISMA and its partners believe can still be controlled in our region. While they have been observed in a number of locations throughout the NCCISMA region, by employing targeted action that includes education, prevention and aggressive treatment, their further spread and adverse impacts can be largely prevented.
What is a watch list species?
Watch list species are invasive plants that have been observed in other locations, particularly southern Michigan and its bordering states. They either have not been observed in the NCCISMA geographic region, or their observation has been limited to a few isolated occurrences.
There's an invasive species on my property; what should I do?
If you believe that you have an invasive species on your property, contact us for assistance with identification, treatment, and management.
What can I do to stop the spread of invasive species?
- Plant native shrubs, flowers, and grasses instead of invasive species in your garden.
- When hiking, stay on the designated trails. Afterwards, clean your boots, pets, gear, and vehicles to prevent seeds and other parts of plants from spreading.
- Wash your canoe, kayak, or boat each time you take it out on the water.
- Don't move firewood; buy it locally.
- Report any invasive species you observe to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN).
Where can I learn more?
- Visit the State of Michigan's Invasive Species website for laws regarding invasive species, educational publications, and many other useful pages including:
- Species Profiles and Reporting Information which provides descriptions of many invasive species in Michigan or on the state watch list.
- Status and Strategies for Established Aquatic Invasive Species in Michigan for more information on aquatic invasives.
- The Midwest Invasive Plant Network is a great source for information on invasive species management organizations in the Midwest as well as educational materials.
- Learn more about CISMAs at the Michigan Invasive Species Coalition.
- MISIN offers a variety of resources including training modules to learn how to identify invasive species.
- The Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership contains information on aquatic invasive species.
- The Nature Conservancy has an article on some native plants that can be grown in place of invasive species.
- Conservation Districts offer a wide range of services and information all geared toward conservation of our natural resources including native plant and tree sales, forestry and agriculture assistance, and helpful workshops. Check out the conservation districts within the NCCISMA:
NCCISMA High Priority Species:
NCCISMA Watch List Species:
Other Watch List Species: