June 5, 2019
On May 22, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) staff from the Warren District Office put their leave time to good use by volunteering at Stony Creek Metropark in Macomb County. Despite the cool and rainy start to the day, 12 volunteers showed up to help, including staff from the Air Quality Division, Remediation and Redevelopment Division, and a family member of EGLE staff.
The volunteer day focused on invasive species management, including removal of invasive garlic mustard from the park. Garlic mustard is typically found in and around forested areas and can prevent native plants from getting the light and nutrients needed to survive. By removing the invasive garlic mustard, native plants can grow and repopulate the forest. Through the collective efforts of EGLE volunteers, a large section of forest was cleared of invasive garlic mustard, with an estimated 240 pounds of plant matter removed.
In addition to the invasive species removal activities, staff also assisted in the identification of invasive species along trails throughout the park. They were instructed on how to identify common invasive species and used the Midwest Invasive Species Identification Network (MISIN) application to digitally map where populations of invasive species had taken hold. Data from the application is then used to help local organizations identify where and how to focus invasive species removal and control efforts. During the volunteer day, EGLE staff were able to help identify and map invasive species along approximately three miles of trails in the park.
This group volunteer day is a great example of how EGLE staff continue to step outside of their daily job responsibilities to help address complex problems in Michigan communities. McKenzi Bergmoser, coordinator for the Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) expressed appreciation for the work done by the EGLE volunteers and stated that invasive species removal would not be possible without them.