Maine aggressively fights invasive plants but not fish and wildlife.

northern pikeMaine is aggressively fighting invasive plants and insects, but not wild animals and fish, like this northern pike. And I think that’s too bad.

This recent quote from Doug Denico, Director of Maine’s Forestry Bureau, got my attention: “The Maine Forest Service, Public Lands and the Natural Areas Program have joined with the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources to locate and eradicate invasive plant and animal species.”

I asked Doug for clarification and this is what he told me: “We have a mapping and control program on Public Lands, with Parks next. We find there are some lots where we don’t have a chance of rolling back the clock. So we are concentrating on areas where we can make a long term difference.

“As this is on Public Lands, we are financing the cost out of timber revenues. The invasive plants we are after are those that would prohibit the natural regeneration of our forests. On private lands we map if given a grant. Control/eradication would be left to the owners.

“On animals, mostly for insects but including diseases, we use Dave Struble’s shop. We have had great success on some beasts and none on others. Examples. Kept the Emerald Ash Borer out of Maine. We have no impact on the Dutch Elm disease,” wrote Doug.

We can only wish the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had stepped up to battle  invasive fish and wildlife – especially fish. But they have done nothing as species after species was spread statewide.

Long Pond, just 10 minutes from my Mount Vernon home, was once one of the best landlocked salmon waters in the state. Today, it is filled with 9 invasive fish including northern pike. And DIF&W has stopped stocking salmon there.

Pike are one of the state’s most invasive and destructive species, introduced illegally in many Maine waters. DIF&W has done nothing to rid those waters of pike. Very sad.

Here’s a look at what Michigan, a state that is much more aggressive in fighting invasives, is doing.

State awards more than $3.5 million to battle invasive species

Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program funds 17 projects across the state

The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced that 17 grant projects will share $3,507,907 in funding through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program – an initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species within the state.

The program targets four key objectives:

  • Preventing new introductions of invasive species through outreach and education.
  • Monitoring for new invasive species and the expansion of existing invasive species.
  • Strategically managing and controlling key colonized species.
  • Responding to and conducting eradication efforts for new findings and range expansions.

In the three years since the program was initiated by the Legislature, more than $11 million has been awarded in grants to local governments, non-profits and institutions for on-the-ground management, education and outreach, and development of innovative methods for controlling invasive species.

The full list of grant recipients, project descriptions and award amounts is available on the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program website.

“Funding provided through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program empowers our partners to make real strides in the fight against invasive species,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “Collaboration like this is critical to safeguarding Michigan’s world-class woods and waters and ensuring these valuable natural resources remain healthy and accessible to current and future generations.”

This year’s awardees include seven cooperative invasive species management areas (CISMAs) providing education and management assistance in 35 counties across Michigan. CISMA efforts range from treating invasive Phragmites and removing European frogbit to helping identify invasive species and preventing their spread.

Other examples of how this year’s funding will be used include:

  • Protecting hemlock and oak forests through improved detection and control methods to target hemlock woolly adelgid and oak wilt – a tree pest and a disease taking a toll on Michigan’s landscape and forest resources. Treatment of a recently discovered outbreak of oak wilt in Belle Isle’s rare wet-mesic flatwood forest also will be supported by the grant program.
  • Increased prevention and reporting of invasive species through several efforts aimed at increasing citizen involvement. Professional development workshops will encourage teachers to develop and share lesson plans about preventing the release of exotic pets and plants. Anglers will be recruited as citizen scientists to monitor streams and report New Zealand mudsnail detections. More volunteers will be trained to share the “Clean, Drain, Dry” message at boat launches throughout the state.
  • Protecting inland lake fisheries by releasing sterile male sea lamprey as an alternative to lampricide treatment. The approach will be tested in Michigan’s Inland Waterway, a nearly 40-mile-long chain of lakes and rivers stretching from just north of Petoskey to Lake Huron. Release of sterile male sea lamprey – both less expensive and less environmentally harmful than the chemical treatment – may be the first step in eradicating the aquatic invader from this important resource.

The DNR began accepting grant applications for this funding cycle in June 2016. After the original call for pre-proposals (which yielded 45 applications seeking a total of $9.9 million), the department received 26 full proposals requesting more than $6.6 million in support. Grant applicants were asked to commit to providing at least 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match.

More information about Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program is available at


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.