A $50,000 grant will help local water officials combat invasive species and restore native vegetation in the Red Run Drain in Warren and Sterling Heights.
The Six Rivers Land Conservancy in Rochester Hills received the grant from the US Forest Service Great Lakes Initiative to improve the 8.2-long-long drain that starts in Oakland County and flows into Macomb County.
The project’s goal is to restore resilience to the drain by blocking and controlling invasive species, environmental officials said in a news release. That will help increase biodiversity and enhance watershed stability and wildlife habitat for species such as the Great Blue Heron and Northern Map Turtle, officials said. It will also allow the officials to monitor what is taking place.
The activities will be managed by the Lake St. Clair Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, which has been preparing for several weeks and will begin eradication efforts in May, said Kirsten Lyons, CISMA director.
The CISMA, which also operates in Rochester Hills, will contract with an expert who will spray herbicide in specific areas, Lyons said.
“We will be starting in early May as the invasive species break dormancy and start to grow,” she said.
She said the Red Run has a high number and volume of invasive plant life because of its environments, its relatively long length and water flow.
“It’s kind of in an urban area and it is a long drain with so many spots for seed input,” she said. “It’s a flowing waterway so the seeds drop in and flow downstream.”
The efforts will occur in Macomb County because the Oakland portion of the Red Run Drain is mostly underground and has a different environment, she said.
Prevention and eradication activities will take place this year, and restoration will take place next year, she said.
In addition to Six Rivers and the CISMA, stakeholders include the Macomb County Public Works Office, Oakland County Resources Commission and Red Run Inter-County Drainage Board. Six Rivers is the fiduciary for the the CISMA.
“This project will improve the ecology of the Red Run Drain, including water quality,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller.
Chris Bunch, Six River’s executive director said: “Invasive species degrade natural habitat. Through its support of the Lake St. Clair CISMA, Six Rivers is improving the natural value of lands in southeastern Michigan. Thanks to this funding, the Lake St. Clair CISMA will continue to expand the reach of the program and educate the public about invasive species impacts.”
Red Run provides drainage for approximately 91,145 acres of Southeast Michigan, officials said.
The project also will engage communities and residents surrounding the Red Run and its drainage area through education and outreach activities about invasive species identification, impacts, management and restoration, officials said. Integrated best management practices, prevention and identification resources will be made available to keep a more people engaged and knowledgeable in practical applications to strengthen their natural communities, they said.
The following is a list of invasive species and the anticipated months of application:
• Poison Hemlock—May
• Garlic Mustard—May or June
• Bull & Canada Thistle – June
• Japanese Knotweed & Giant Knotweed, Yellow Clover – August
• Phragmites, Reed Canary Grass – September
• Japanese hops, Multiflora rose, Teasel, Wild Parsnip – September
The state of Michigan and the US Forest Service awarded a total of $5.5 million in grants to 47 projects across seven states to combat invasive species through the GLRI program in 2022, officials said.