Did you know that Michigan’s Conservation Districts are unique local units of state government that utilize state, federal and private sector resources to solve today’s conservation problems?
Each Conservation District encourages landowners, citizens and governing communities to turn to it for natural resource conservation information and assistance. The seventy-five Conservation Districts in Michigan serve as the “boots on the ground” to accomplish essential conservation work within their communities.
The Kent Conservation District assists landowners in rural and urban areas with habitat restoration and invasive species control. It also offers technical assistance to agricultural producers wanting to participate in USDA NRCS Farm Bill Programs or the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance program.
Specifically, the Kent Conservation District encourages all resident to be part of the solution when it comes to invasive species by taking action to prevent their spread. Join us in learning how these non-native plants force out native plants and animals in the growing season, change the ecological function of the natural lands and waters, and even damage property values and human health.
In 2013, the Kent Conservation District created one of the first Invasive Species Strike Teams in Western Michigan. In the early years, the team focused mainly on the treatment of Japanese knotweed and black swallow-wort following the guidelines from the State of Michigan through its Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.
Kent Conservation District’s Invasive Species Strike Team has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years with the team greatly expanding services to including oriental bittersweet vine control in Cascade, cut stump work on invasive black-jet bead shrubs in Provin and Amen Park and foliar spray work on Japanese stilt-grass in Ada. The team is most proud of the little victories, such as identifying and controlling aggressive leafy spurge in a road commission borrow pit and collecting bags of Japanese knotweed dumped in a State Game Area parking lot.
The Kent Conservation District is now striking back in Montcalm County, too. Large fields completely bordered by a number of 10-foot tall walls of Japanese knotweed in central Montcalm County were recently treated as well as a dense stands of Phragmites in large wetland mitigation sites along farm fields in Montcalm County. More treatments are planned in Montcalm County in the coming year.
With funding from a grant, the Kent Conservation District conducted over thirty-two outreach events; such as winter workshops for the road commission and local landowners that want to learn more about how to properly identify and self-treat their home-grown invasive species. A landowner workshop taught important information on proper herbicide application and how to prioritize treatment in yards.
Staff has invested time visiting with local township trustees and other units of governments to remind public leaders of the importance of prevention and the community benefits to funding invasive species control. KCD believes in the importance of giving the lay person the knowledge and skills needed to make a difference in his or her own neighborhood.
The Kent Conservation District offers many service-learning opportunities throughout the year. Please check out our website at www.kentconservation.org for information about upcoming events as well as ones that need volunteer assistance.