to help battle pests
Applications open for groups to fight aquatic nuisances
By Erica Kolaski
Cheboygan Daily Tribune
CHEBOYGAN - The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council recently
announced that federal and state grant money is available
for local groups that are attempting to combat aquatic
nuisance species in Michigan lakes.
Watershed Aquatics Habitat Director Jill Ryan said that
the Watershed Council received funding from the Office
of the Great Lakes, through a grant from the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service to administer the aquatic nuisance
species information and education small grants program
"Types of activities that will be funded include
boater education activities, training programs, and inventory
and detection system pilot projects," said Ryan.
She explained that the program will be administered through
the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund, a project
of the Watershed Council. The $24,000 in funding will
be used to administer a Michigan grant program for groups
working to provide information and education programs
for local initiatives to prevent and control aquatic nuisance
species in Michigan waters, she said.
"If your 501(c)(3) non-governmental organization,
school, indigenous tribal entity, or local unit of government
is working to protect Michigan's waters from this onslaught
you may be eligible for funds," she explained.
Application deadline is March 12, 2004, with grant periods
beginning in May 2004, said Ryan.
"Michigan's waters continue to come under assault,"
she said. "Zebra mussels, purple loosestrife, alewives,
lamprey eels and other exotics are threatening the plants
and animals that belong here.
"This has far reaching consequences for tourism,
agriculture, recreation, and fishing. Much remains to
be done to shut off the paths that these nuisance species
use to enter the Great Lakes and to spread within Michigan,"
Ryan explained that species can still enter the lakes
in ship ballast water, aquatic weeds hitchhike on boats
traveling from lake to lake, sea lamprey spawn in tributaries,
and that other species are poised to enter the Great Lakes
through holes in our net of protection.
She urged local groups to take advantage of this funding,
stating: "Funding will assist local initiatives working
to prevent and control aquatic nuisance species. By working
locally, organizations can provide local knowledge and
cooperation to reduce the impacts of these non-native
plants and animals on our waters."
For more information, contact Jill Ryan, Great Lakes
Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund Director at Tip of the
Mitt Watershed Council, 426 Bay Street, Petoskey MI 49770,
or call 231-347-1181 ext. 106.