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Michigan grants fund efforts to slow invasive species spread

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Michigan government agencies have awarded millions of dollars in grant funding to efforts aimed at slowing the spread of invasive species.

Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy spokesperson Joanne Foreman said invasive species can change the ecosystems of lakes across the state.

“If you bring zebra mussels or starry stonewort, which is an aquatic plant, into your favorite fishing lake, you might not be able to enjoy fishing like you used to in a couple years. Your kids and grandkids might not see it at all,” she said.

Another species the grants will focus on is didymo, or “rock snot,” which could be spreading in Michigan waters.

One of the programs getting funding from the grants, which are jointly administered by EGLE, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is a mobile boat washing station that will travel to popular lakes in the Northern Lower Peninsula and teach people about how and why they need to clean their boats.

“It’s a law, and it’s a law because it’s so important that people just pick up this as a regular behavior like brushing your teeth,” Foreman said. “It’s so easy to move these dangerous aquatic invasive species unintentionally.”

The state is funding $3.6 million in grants for 29 projects to combat invasive species.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.
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