PAW PAW, Mich. — The Southwest X Southwest Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) will be educating boaters about preventing the spread of harmful invasive species during Michigan’s 4th Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz July 1 through July 9, 2017. The Landing Blitz is a statewide program sponsored by the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Natural Resources (MDNR), and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) in partnership with local organizations as part of Michigan’s Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week. The event is a collaborative outreach campaign to raise awareness about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through recreational boating and related activities.
AIS crowd out native species, disrupt lake ecosystems, and interfere with boating, fishing, and other recreation. Boaters can unknowingly transfer invasive species and fish diseases, such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), to new waters when they don’t clean boats, trailers, and other recreational equipment. The best way to stop these invaders is to make sure that boats and other recreational equipment, such as waders, are cleaned before moving between bodies of water. Many plants can reproduce from small fragments and, because of this, it is important to always stop and clean boat, trailers, and motors before leaving a boat launch.
The CISMA is hosting three events throughout the week within its service area in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties to teach boaters, anglers, and the public about how to keep our lakes and rivers healthy by cleaning their equipment.
On Saturday, July 1st, the CISMA will be in the Paw Paw Amphitheater on Maple Lake from 11am-3pm for demonstrations on cleaning boots, boats, and waders, as well as common invasive species identification and reporting. For more information, contact Nor Serocki at the Van Buren Conservation District at 269-657-4030 x 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday, July 2nd, the Land Blitz will continue in Cass County from 10am-2pm in Harmon Park, near Cassopolis, with booths, giveaways, and presentation for all ages. Stop by throughout the event to learn about how to decontaminate recreational equipment, and learn more about preventing invasive species in our area! Contact Kimberly Barton at the Cass County Conservation District at 269-445-8641 x 5 or email@example.com with any questions.
The CISMA will wrap up its week of events in Berrien County on Friday, July 7th with a free boat wash event at the Paw Paw Lake East Launch in Watervliet. In collaboration with Michigan State’s Clean Boats, Clean Waters crew, free boat washes will be offered to those coming on or off the lake to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species, such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil. The event will include giveaways, boat washing, and one-on-one outreach. Stop by to learn about the species to keep an eye out for, and keep our lakes healthy! Have any questions? Contact Jared Harmon at the Berrien County Conservation District at 269-471-9111 x 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SWxSW Corner CISMA is a grant-funded organization working to help land owners, local governments, and concerned citizens understand and manage the invasive species threats in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. If you have invasive species on your property, or if you would like to have a CISMA representative speak for or work with your organization, please contact your county’s CISMA representative at any time! The CISMA is funded in part by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, through the Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development.
— USDA NACD
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