Michigan's natural areas are under threat from invasive species. You can help protect our land and water resources.
When invasives take hold, they change native ecosystems. Invasive species are difficult, sometimes even impossible to eradicate. Once invasive species become established, the work to remove them and restore natural systems is costly and time consuming. Preventing the spread of invasive species is the easiest solution to the problem. You can make a difference!
Management and Control Permits
- Permits for Controlling Invasive Species
Before you begin any efforts to control or manage invasive species, including chemical managment, mechanical management or other methods, find out if you need a permit to do so.
- Aquatic Professionals, Researchers, and Volunteers
Take the Aquatic Invasive Species Decontamination training:
This module focuses on decontaminating field equipment and vehicles to reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS). The training is for anyone who works, plays, or volunteers in lakes, rivers, streams, or wetlands. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Lake associations
- Dock installers
- Marina owner/operators
- Boaters and Anglers
Michigan law requires that a person remove all aquatic plants from watercraft, watercraft equipment and trailers before placing these into Michigan waters.
Prior to transporting any watercraft over land, boaters are required to do all of the following:
- Remove all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells.
- Drain all water from any live wells and bilges.
- Ensure that the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including plants.
This means that after trailering boats, and before getting on the road, boaters must pull plugs, drain water and remove plants and debris.
Violation of the law is a state civil infraction and violators may be subject to fines up to $100.
For more information on this law, see Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994) Part 413.
The practice of hauling firewood from one part of the state to another is devastating Michigan's native trees. Transporting firewood also transports insects and diseases. Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that has impacted nearly 10 million trees throughout southeast Michigan, is one of the most prominent threats to Michigan's forests, but it is not alone. Oak wilt, Beech bark disease and Asian longhorned beetle are the top threats in a growing list of firewood hitchhikers. Don't move firewood!
- Don't bring firewood with you when you camp.
- If you find or buy wood in the park, don't take any back home with you. Burn it all or give it to other campers in the park.
- In most parks, concessionaires sell firewood in small, manageable bundles. When a concessionaire isn't available, many private firewood stands can be found in the areas near the park. Keep your firewood purchases within a short distance of where you're staying.
- Hunters and Trail Users
- Remove plants, seeds and mud from boots, pets, vehicles and gear before leaving a recreation or hunting site.
- Stay on designated trails or access areas.
- If possible, park in non-vegetated areas to avoid carrying seeds on your vehicle to new locations.
- Clean your gear thoroughly before heading to a new site.
- Don’t bring firewood with you, and don’t take firewood home.
- Landowners and Gardeners
- Do not purchase invasive plants that are prohibited or restricted in the state.
- Use native plants and leave existing native plants and trees alone.
- Don’t accept plants from others unless you are sure they are not invasive.
- Put seeds in the trash.
- If you are removing invasive plants, or you are not sure if they are invasive, place them in dark plastic bags and put them in the trash.
- Be proactive in looking for and reporting invasive plants on your property.
- Water Gardeners, Aquarium Owners, and Pond Owners
Join Michigan's campaign to Reduce Invasive Pet and PLant Escapes! Find RIPPLE materials and information here.
- Do not purchase invasive plants or animals that are restricted or prohibited in Michigan.
- Do not transplant or release aquarium plants, fish or animals into lakes, streams or ponds.
- Construct ponds or water gardens away from other waters, wetlands and floodplains.
If you have acquired an undesirable, nonnative aquatic plant or fish species for your aquarium or water garden, it is important not to release these plants or fish into the environment including not flushing them into the city sewer system. Instead, use one of the following alternatives:
- Contact the store where the plant, fish or animal was purchased for proper handling advice or possible return.
- Give or trade with another aquarium owner, pond owner, or water gardener.
- Donate to a local aquarium society, school, or aquatic business.
- Do not compost aquatic plants - seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose in trash.
- Contact a veterinarian specializing in exotics for guidance on humane disposal of fish or aquatic animals.
Resident Control and Management Resources
There are many ways in which you can assist in the control and management of invasive species in Michigan. Please see the resources below for more information:
- Michigan Landowner's Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species Management
- Michigan Citizens' Guide to Invasive Plant Disposal - accessible
- Michigan Citizens' Guide to Invasive Plant Disposal - pdf
- Management of Aquatic Plants
- Management and Control of Invasive Phragmites
- Lake and Wetland Management Resources
- Integrated Pest Management for Nuisance Exotics in Michigan Inland Lakes
Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz Sign up for this summer’s statewide outreach event focused on raising awareness and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species through recreational boating and related activities.
Bring the mobile boat wash to your community! Local organizations can promote boater awareness and understanding by hosting the free Mobile Boat Wash - an excellent opportunity to teach boaters the importance of the “Clean, Drain, and Dry” steps to prevent the spread of aquatic hitchhikers.
Volunteer Stewardship Workdays on Public Land Volunteer workdays are sponsored by the DNR's State Park Stewardship Unit to help protect and restore natural areas at seventeen parks across southern Michigan, focusing on natural areas that are known or potential sites for species of greatest conservation need.
The Stewardship Network The Stewardship Network offers a broad range of events to increase our collective capacity to protect, restore and manage natural lands and waters. The events may be a cluster workday/workshop held at a local natural area, a local garlic mustard pull as part of the Network-wide Garlic Mustard Challenge, or one of many events listed by a variety of other organizations.
Clean Boats Clean Waters A program to actively empower citizen volunteers to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species through the boating pathway.
Additional volunteer opportunities may be available - please check your local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area