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Michigan's Invasive Species Community

Greg Norwood

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  1. All, I recently started a new position with the Michigan DNR, working closely with Ryan Wheeler and Christina Baugher, as invasive species coordinator for the wildlife division. I thought I would try out the forum here and offer a topic for "discussion" that has been on my mind. The image shows proliferation of European frog-bit (Hydrocharus morsus-ranae) following broad-cast herbicide treatment via helicopter and marsh master of Phragmites along Lake Erie. Certainly, some invasive species arrive and thrive whether or not an ecosystem is degraded or is changing enough to promote the invader (e.g., Emerald Ash Borer). A pristine black ash swamp is as susceptible to major impact from emerald ash borer just as much as street trees. Yet our community is talking about more than prevention. We actively manage invasive species once they arrive and establish, hopefully using principles of integrated pest management. But this simple example of treating one invasive to promote another does challenge us to ask tough questions about the invaded environment. Does the system have a physical environment (and processes) that will always favor the invasive? Are there root causes that need to be ameliorated while dealing with the invasive and are we willing to address them? Are we communicating too much about the invasive and not enough about overall ecological health? I'd be interested in hearing what others think about this on the forum.
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