Officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources along with an environmental science and engineering firm in Kalamazoo have launched an effort to manage aquatic invasive species at the Fort Custer Recreational Area in Augusta. The habitat enhancement project recently kicked off and the DNR is working with Kieser & Associates on a plan to enhance the recreation area’s habitat by focusing on its lakes. The project is funded through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment as part of the settlement levied against Enbridge Energy in connection with the massive July 2010 oil spill into the Kalamazoo River.

In addition to aquatic plant surveys, which have found invasive species in all of Fort Custer’s lakes, the three-year project will include several different treatments to control these species. This will help determine the best long-term, cost-effective options for invasive species management in the lakes. The project also involves a public outreach and educational component to help park visitors understand their role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Many non-native plants and animals can disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy. They are easily spread by boaters and anglers who use their equipment in multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it.

If you are a boater or angler, you can help by following these simple steps:

  • Clean boats, trailers and equipment.
  • Drain live wells, bilges and all water from boats.
  • Dry boats and equipment.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Learn more about preventing the spread of invasive species HERE.