Have you ever had swimmer’s itch? The snail that carries the parasite prefers to live in patches of Flowering Rush, which is one of several aquatic invasive species finding their way into West Michigan. That unfortunate fact is just one of the things I learned while attending a workshop at Ottawa County’s Grand River Park on identifying aquatic invasive plants.
The event, hosted by the West Michigan Cluster of The Stewardship Network, featured renowned invasive species educator Phyllis Higman from Michigan State University’s Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Have a plant? She knows what it is, where it came from, and quite a few other technical things I barely understood.
Grand River Park also happens to be the location of one of just several reported Flowering Rush patches in West Michigan at this time. Drew Rayner of West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA) assisted with the educational portion of the event.
We spoke about recognizing Flowering Rush and some of the many reasons why West Michigan experts would like to keep Michigan’s Flowering Rush invasion contained to the Southeast region of the state where it currently poses significant threats to waterways.
As is often the case, preventing the introduction of an invasive species means early identification and treatment. Workshops like this allow enthusiasts and experts alike to become a vital part of that process by learning how to identify species that pose a threat to people, property, and the environment.
This article and content are part of the #MIspecies campaign of which West Michigan CISMA and The Stewardship Network are organizational partners.