Sharing Success: The Northeast Michigan CWMA


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We use grassroots efforts to kill grass roots! This overview of the successes and challenges of establishing the Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) will include topics like creating a scalable treatment program, working on public and private lands, prioritizing sites while including all landowners, and creating motivation to solve a problem that isn’t necessarily visible to often absent seasonal landowners. Ecologist Jennifer Muladore, who manages the Huron Pines Invasive Species Program and coordinates the Northeast Michigan CWMA, will lead group discussion and show visuals to help other invasive species program organizers boost their own program’s capacity for restoration success. This presentation was given by Jennifer Muladore, Ecologist, Huron Pines.

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Sharing Success: The Northeast Michigan CWMA

  1. 1. Sharing Success: The Northeast Michigan CWMA Jennifer Muladore | Huron Pines Ecologist September 11, 2013
  2. 2. About Huron Pines Conserving the forests, lakes, and streams of Northeast Michigan ›  Nonprofit, 501(c)(3) ›  40 years in business ›  12 full-time staff plus AmeriCorps program and seasonal crew ›  Projects include: ›  ›  ›  ›  River restoration Land stewardship Watershed planning Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative
  3. 3. Overview ›  Background and CWMA basics ›  How do you solve a problem like phragmites? ›  Scales and priorities ›  Landowner motivation ›  Other lessons and discussion
  4. 4. Background What are Invasive Species? ›  Live outside their historical distribution ›  Potential to negatively affect native plants of the natural ecosystem, the local economy, or human health ›  Don’t have to be from other countries—even native plants can get so aggressive that they are labeled invasive!
  5. 5. Background What is a CWMA? ›  Cooperative Weed Management Area ›  Partnership that works together to fight invasive plants in a defined area ›  Governed by an agreement that lays out partner roles and responsibilites ›  Funding not always required, but the CWMA is helpful for applying for it
  6. 6. Background Key Points about the Northeast Michigan CWMA ›  Many of our resources are still high quality ›  Early Detection-Rapid Response: find invaders fast and treat them before they become a big, expensive problem ›  Priority species: phragmites, garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, purple loosestrife, European frogbit
  7. 7. Background How are we different from other efforts? ›  Early Detection-Rapid Response ›  Landowner focused with regional goals ›  Prioritized hotspots ›  Combination of outreach and treatment ›  SWAT Team!
  8. 8. Phragmites The Campaign to End Phragmites ›  Phrag is still an EDRR species in most of Northern Michigan ›  There are many special natural places worth protecting ›  Phrag is becoming more visible to the public in other places ›  Funding is available for phragmites treatment
  9. 9. Phragmites The Campaign to End Phragmites: Components ›  Inventory (annual) ›  Agency partnerships ›  Cost-share to private landowners ›  Our staff does the treatment except at large properties But… With 467 miles of shoreline and hundreds of inland lakes and streams, how do we choose where to go first?
  10. 10. Prioritization The 3-tiered approach: Sites ›  Highest priority: Keep invasive species out of high value sites and treat outlier infestations whenever possible but especially near high value sites ›  ›  ›    ›  Medium Priority: Contain or eradicate large source populations ›  ›  Lands with endangered, threatened and special concern species or species of greatest conservation need and/or high quality natural communities. Lands that are currently managed as State parks, nature preserves, or in conservation ownership. Private lands bordering state parks, nature preserves or lands in conservation ownership Lands which include large blocks of landowners or single landowner with large coastal properties. Lowest Priority: Capitalize on treatment of any site where resources are immediately available and success is likely ›  Individual privately owned properties without rare species, natural communities and that do not border state parks, preserves or conservation lands will be given the lowest priority.
  11. 11. Prioritization The 3-tiered approach: Species ›  Highest priority: True Early Detection and Rapid Response Garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, phragmites, European frogbit, black swallowwort, etc. These species are not widespread in our service area and still have a reasonable probability of being prevented from taking over region-wide. ›  Medium Priority: Watershed-Wide Control Purple loosestrife, buckthorn, wild parsnip These species are widespread but can be controlled in a larger area or prevented from spreading to important habitats. ›  Lowest Priority: Site-by-site Removal Autumn olive, spotted knapweed, mullein, burdock, thistles, queen anne’s lace, ox-eye daisy, St. John’s wort These species are considered noxious weeds and are heavily distributed throughout Northeast Michigan, but they can be removed at important sites where complete habitat restoration is taking place, or where rare species are threatened.  
  12. 12. Ownership Public vs. Private Lands Public Land Owners (2) Private Land Owners (250) Large parcels Small parcels Often multiple species, high density in large areas Usually one or two species, low density or small area Decisionmaker sometimes hard to locate Owner sometimes hard to locate General good understanding of need to remove IS Often misinformed or uninformed (but many well-informed, enthusiastic!) Multiple levels of red tape and internal and external paperwork Low paperwork individually, willing to adapt to change Willing to pay for work and provide technical assistance Willing to pay for work and provide technical assistance Usually not willing to work beyond property lines Often willing to group together or pay for neighbors if needed
  13. 13. Motivation Private landowner characteristics in Northeast MI ›  Many 2nd homes ›  Full-time residents some of the poorest in the nation ›  Many sites are remote, close to public land or abandoned
  14. 14. Motivation A Typical Invasion Area invaded" Widespread awareness" Detection" Introduction" Eradication simple Eradication feasible Time" Eradication difficult Only expensive LOCAL management possible Thanks to Ellen Jacquart, TNC and the MNFI!
  15. 15. Motivation How we motivate landowners ›  Offer cost-share and relief from red tape ›  Push neighbor-toneighbor contact and organization ›  Continual print and in-person education
  16. 16. Success
  17. 17. Lessons What have we learned? ›  Outreach needs to be constant, even to multiyear participants ›  Landowners and funding sources need a “bridge” to help them work toward mutual goals ›  Economic and political issues influence even the best-funded project ›  Some people can’t be convinced.
  18. 18. Lessons What have we learned? ›  Funding is a puzzle that we have to piece together to make all aspects of the program work each year ›  Future challenge: keeping the program going as internal and funder interests change
  19. 19. Funders 2013 Puzzle Pieces ›  Michigan DEQ Coastal Management Program (NOAA) ›  National Fish & Wildlife Foundation ›  Natural Resources Conservation Service ›  North American Hydro ›  Private Landowners ›  U.S. Forest Service (GLRI) ›  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  20. 20. Discussion Questions for you ›  What are the local values in your area? ›  What activities will best remove invasive species and uphold those values? ›  What are some barriers to total eradication of invasive species? ›  What are you willing to settle for?
  21. 21. Discussion Questions for me? Jennifer Muladore Huron Pines 4241 Old US 27, Suite 2 Gaylord, MI 49735 (989) 448-2293 ext. 31