by Paige Filice, Michigan State University Extension – February 14, 2021
Seven projects received funding to educate boaters on the importance of cleaning, draining, and drying equipment.
The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is funding seven outreach projects across Michigan to educate boaters about aquatic invasive species prevention. The awardees include lake associations, watershed groups, local units of government, and other nonprofit organizations. Grant funds will be used to communicate aquatic invasive species prevention information through outreach materials and in-person events. Projects range from the installation of signage at boat launches to boat and trailer cleaning stations with invasive species removal tools.
2021 Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters Funded Projects
- The Benzie Conservation District will engage boaters through their Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways Program in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties. Staff and volunteers will conduct boat washing events at public and private launch sites throughout the boating season and are installing signage at boat access sites.
- The Black Lake Preservation Society is installing boat and trailer cleaning stations with hand removal tools at three public boat access sites on Black Lake in Presque Isle County. They will be hosting grand opening events at each access site to demonstrate how to use the equipment.
- The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds is hosting three outreach events with educational materials at popular public access sites along the lower Grand River in the Grand Rapids region. They are also creating a video demonstrating proper boat cleaning techniques.
- The Michigan United Conservation Clubs is sharing prevention information via their Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine and membership newsletters. They are also incorporating Clean Boats, Clean Waters prevention messaging in three of their “On the Water” volunteer watershed habitat improvement project work days on the Clinton River, Manistee River, and in the Bay Mills Watershed.
- The Missaukee Conservation District is partnering with the North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and the Missaukee Lake Association to host three outreach events on Lake Missaukee and Lake Cadillac. They will also be distributing educational materials at local businesses and popular tourist destinations.
- The Charter Township of Oxford is installing a user-operated, waterless cleaning station that will be equipped with a weed removal tool, plug wrench, boot brush, and interpretive signage at the Stony Lake Township Park in Oakland County. They will be promoting the cleaning station and invasive species prevention activities via media outlets and at three outreach events hosted at township parks throughout the boating season.
- The Portage Lake Watershed Forever watershed council in Manistee County is hosting aquatic invasive species education booths at community events throughout the boating season and will be applying parking lot stencils with outreach messaging at popular boating access sites. They are also partnering with local businesses including marinas and bait shops to share educational information.
Since 2006, Clean Boats, Clean Waters has educated and engaged recreational water users in behaviors that will limit or prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Aquatic invasive species are frequently spread unintentionally on boats and trailers and once introduced they are extremely difficult and expensive to manage. Boater outreach is one tool of many used in Michigan to address invasive species issues. This year, grant funding was available for the first time through the program to support local organizations. The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is a joint effort between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Funding for the program and this grant opportunity is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The 2021 Clean Boats, Clean Waters funding opportunity was noncompetitive, and complete and eligible applications were funded in the order that they were received until all funds were allocated. Project expenditures range from $1,000 to $3,000 per grantee. Funds may be available next year through the program. If you would like to be notified of future grant opportunities please visit the Clean Boats, Clean Waters grants website.