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State offers $3.6 million in grants to fight invasive species, hosts educational series

Adult Spotted Lanternflies outside the Berks County Services Building in Reading, PA Monday afternoon. The Spoted Lanternfly is an invasive species from Asia.
Ben Hasty
/
MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Adult Spotted Lanternflies outside the Berks County Services Building in Reading, PA Monday afternoon. The Spoted Lanternfly is an invasive species from Asia.

Invasive species are a national problem. One study estimates they cost the country $21 billion dollars in economic losses annually.

Spotted lanternflies, zebra mussels, and phragmites are just some invasive species in Michigan that pose a threat to the environment, economy, and public health.

That’s why the state is now offering $3.6 million dollars for projects to target invasive species in Michigan.

The state awards grants to local governments, universities and nonprofits every year to encourage efforts to reduce and prevent invasive species from spreading.

Joanne Foreman is with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She said proposed projects are ranked on their ability to address the state’s management priorities, which are outlined in the invasive species program.

“It's important for us to focus on those battles that we can potentially win, and the most serious threats may be coming to Michigan that affect our agriculture, our forests, our waters, or even human health,” she said.

Foreman said proposed projects can include research, removal or treatment.

“We are also looking at ways to aid early detection and response for species on Michigan's watch list, which are those invaders that either have not made it to Michigan yet or have recently arrived,” Foreman said.

The deadline to applyfor a grant is November 1.

The state will also host a webinar series this month on current management efforts - and how communities can aid in the fight against invasive species.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.