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Decon, didymo and DIY: Get ready for summer with NotMISpecies webinars

Now that temperatures finally are warming up across Michigan, it’s time to head outdoors! Whether you’re planning a weekend on the water or digging into a landscaping project, this summer’s NotMISpecies webinars offer tips to help you prevent and manage invasive plants and animals to protect the places you love.

With more people  ̶  and more invasive species  ̶  on the move, decontamination (or “decon,” for short) is now an essential part of travel. Upcoming webinars will show you the best tools and methods for assuring no invasive hitchhikers tag along on your journeys. If invasive plants have crept onto your property, NotMISpecies is also offering some do-it-yourself tips for management.

Supported by the Michigan Invasive Species program, the monthly, hourlong webinars are designed to keep people informed about available programs, current research and emerging issues in the state and the Great Lakes region. Question and answer sessions and links to resources help attendees get the most out of each presentation.

“Clean It Up, Drain It Out, Dry It Off” (9 a.m. Thursday, May 12) will show how easy it is for boaters to adopt the Clean, Drain, Dry process to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Kelsey Bockleman from Michigan State University Extension and Kevin Walters from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will provide a live demonstration of each step in the process. The team will demonstrate watercraft decontamination essentials using basic tools like towels and brushes and display the features and operation of a trailer-mounted mobile boat washing system.

“Didymo: What You Need to Know” (9 a.m. Thursday, June 9) will provide important information for anyone fishing or boating in Michigan’s rivers. The December 2021 discovery of didymo (also known as “rock snot”), an aquatic nuisance algae species, in the Upper Manistee River signals the need for increased decontamination practices by all river and stream users. Dr. Ashley Moerke of Lake Superior State University will provide an overview of didymo's ecology, potential effects on cold-water organisms, and what LSSU researchers are doing to better understand spread, impacts and potential triggers of didymo nuisance blooms. Moerke will be joined by staff from the Department of Natural Resources and EGLE to answer questions and discuss techniques to help prevent further spread.

“Not in My Backyard! Managing Invasives with Help from CISMAs” (9 a.m. Wednesday, July 27) demonstrates how you can control invasive plants in your landscape. Vicki Sawicki of North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and Elise Desjarlais of Lake to Lake CISMA will share identification tips and treatment tricks for common invasives including garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed and several invasive shrubs. Learn the importance of monitoring, re-treating and restoring beneficial vegetation after invasive species removal and how to get additional resources from your local CISMA.

The webinar series takes a break in August and will be back in September with more great information.

If you can’t wait for its return, take some time to catch up on topics you might have missed, including this year’s forecast for spongy moth (formerly gypsy moth), collaborative efforts in invasive carp management, and the threat posed by spotted lanternfly.

Recorded versions of all previous NotMISpecies webinars are available at Michigan.gov/EGLE/Outreach under “Featured Webinar Series.”

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program, a collaborative effort of the departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development, coordinates and supports invasive species initiatives across the state and provides support through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

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