ISCCW Historical Information

Eurasian watermilfoil is an exotic, invasive aquatic plant that has been present for years both in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and throughout Wisconsin. This pervasive species forms dense surface canopies which cause adverse environmental, recreational, economic and aesthetic problems. It was not discovered in Watersmeet Township until 2000, when concerned citizens noticed an infestation in Clearwater Lake on the Cisco Chain.

The Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association immediately began treating Clearwater Lake with the herbicide 2-4-D. This herbicide received clearance in the 1950’s from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for continued use in water. Unfortunately, in successive years, Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in several more township lakes.

In 2005, the township received a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, which was to be used for education, lake surveys and control efforts related to aquatic nuisance species. A steering committee, called the Watersmeet Aquatic Nuisance Species Coalition, was formed to administer the funds. Employees were hired to monitor boat landings and distribute pamphlets to educate the public. In addition, several lake associations were granted much needed matching funds to help pay the costs of chemical treatments necessary to control infestations of Eurasian watermilfoil.

In 2007, the Watersmeet Aquatic Nuisance Species Coalition was reorganized into an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization called the Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet (ISCCW). The new organization enabled township residents to expand their efforts and utilize more resources.

The organization had many successes in 2007. For the third consecutive year, the group was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Watersmeet Township Board approved $8,000 to help with the required match to this grant. In addition, the Board received $10,000 of 2% money from the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Tribal Indians, which was passed on to the group. A township-wide mailing was completed which eventually brought in 200 members and $20,000 in donations. Scores of local volunteers donated hundreds of hours and the U.S. Forest Service provided a number of in-kind services. Educators were hired to facilitate Michigan’s Clean Boats Clean Waters program. Several area lake associations were provided with up to a 50% match of their expenses for chemical control treatments on infested lakes.

In 2008, we were informed that two of our grant requests were approved. We received $4,000 from the BoatUS Foundation Clean Water Grant and $40,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Grant. In addition, we were granted $20,000 from Watersmeet Township to further aid us as we continued our work to save our waterways from the threat of invasive species. With the help of grant monies, we were able to take possession of our first portable boat washing rig. It was placed at key locations within the township and used to demonstrate the importance of properly cleaning boats prior to transporting them from one body of water to another. To encourage an alternative approach, we provided 30% of the funding needed to plant Eurasian watermilfoil eating weevils into one infested lake.

ISCCW is proud of its accomplishments for 2009:

• ISCCW employees inspected 1830 watercraft and power washed 370 boats; they also talked to 4331 boaters. Paid educators logged 700 hours of education, administration and training time. Paid boat washers logged 858 hours of boat wash operations.

• ISCCW hired a certified biologist to monitor and survey 13 area lakes. Three additional lakes were monitored by ISCCW volunteers.

• ISCCW sponsored two on-water training sessions to demonstrate the proper way to look for and identify Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM).

• ISCCW purchased 9 signs titled “Stop These Invaders” and installed them at area boat landings. To promote public awareness, several give-away items were developed such as placemats, bookmarks, license plates and brochures. A Watercraft Checkpoints Coloring Contest was sponsored for children.

• ISCCW provided a 50% match to eligible lake associations to assist them with their aquatic invasive species treatment expenses.

• ISCCW volunteers logged hundreds of hours doing such things as monitoring public boat landings, surveying for EWM, harvesting EWM, attending meetings, researching grant opportunities, website design, mailings and record keeping.

Funding for the 2009 projects came from several sources. ISCCW received a grant from UPPCO for $5000, a donation from Watersmeet Township for $5000 and one from Michigan DNR for $500. Funds were also used from a $40,000 National Fish and Wildlife Grant awarded in 2008. Dues and donations from 275 members brought in an additional $24,000. ISCCW met with the Lac Vieux Desert Tribal Chairman and made a comprehensive proposal for a cooperative effort to be funded with 2% money in 2010.

In 2010, the on-site boat washing program was expanded with the addition of a second boat washer. The second boat washer, provided by the U.S. Forest Service and funded through them with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds, enabled us to communicate with even more fishermen and recreational boaters. ISCCW employees talked with 5507 people, inspected 2212 watercraft and power washed 567 boats. Fifteen lakes were surveyed or monitored with ten of them getting a clean slate. Five lakes were found to have newly discovered or continuing problems. A special meeting was called to discuss the critical problem of EWM in Bass Lake and ISCCW is working with several partners to prepare a plan to reverse the Bass Lake situation. Dues and donations from 300 members brought in $28,000.

We continue to work with the Western Upper Peninsula Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area (WUPCWPMA), the US Forest Service, the Army Corp of Engineers, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations (MLSA), area lake associations and surrounding communities. Through our township officials we are making the Michigan Township Association more aware of the seriousness of the threat of invasive species. The ISCCW firmly believes that education, lake surveys and control measures for infested areas offer the best solution to protect the township against invasive species.

We believe in Watersmeet – we hope you do too.