As many Michiganders take to the lakes in droves, it's important to know how we can help these precious bodies of fresh water we sometimes take for granted and keep them protected. That starts with awareness and a few simple tips on how to keep invasive species out of our waters!

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Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week

Starting June 28th through July 4th there is an initiative across the state which WILX says is meant to spread "public awareness about the impacts of harmful, non-native aquatic plants and animals is critical to protecting Michigan’s ecosystems and waterways."

This includes events at 54 boat launch areas around the state where visitors will be informed about Michigan boating laws like WILX reports it is required "that a person remove all aquatic plants from watercraft, watercraft equipment, and trailers before placing these into Michigan waters."

Laws as to what boaters have to do before transporting their watercraft from the water and across land will also be a point of focus, including proper draining and removal of aquatic organisms.

Local Resources and Initiatives

There are plenty of groups around the state that work year-round to keep a watchful eye out for invasive species in Mid-Michigan waters that deserve some recognition this week!

For example, listener Emily sent us some resources and information from the Mid-Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (MM-CISMA) which is part of the Ingham Conservation District.

They focus on, as the name suggests, invasive species which according to their website, are Japanese Knotweed, Black-Swallow Wort, Phragmites and European Frog-Bit. Water quality is another focus of theirs in which they monitor microplastics, streams, watersheds and resources on how we all can help.

You can also check with the Michigan DNR on how to identify and report invasive species when you see them.

Main Aquatic Invasives of Focus

WILX says more common aquatic invasive species here in Michigan are zebra mussels and sea lampreys (which are terrifying).

"These are harmful to the environment and can be spread by boaters who do not clean, drain, and dry their boats before moving them to another location," WILX reports. 

Not only can putting our waters at risks to these invasive species just make you feel like a real jerk but WILX also shares that violating the laws in place for protection can get you a civil infraction and fines upwards of $100.

So, this Independence Day weekend, don't be a jerk, and put in the work!

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