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KISMA’ Aquatic Research Students Getting Ready for Another Season of Data Collection

Most of MTU’s students may have moved home for the summer, but some are sticking around to continue research with the school’s Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA). Soon enough teams studying the spread of European Frog Bite and Invasive Phragmites. Teams are split up, and travel around the area documenting where they find and where they don’t find each of the invasive species. There has been evidence of European frog bite found near the Michigan-Wisconsin boarder and the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie. The biggest issue with invasive species is they often produce mono-culture ecosystems in places they should not be.

Since there is so much of this plant material that builds up, and accumulates, it reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in waterways. It degrades water quality, and does not allow native fish and flora, or fauna and flora, to survive and thrive had they not been in the presence of Frog Bite. – Connor Ford, EFB Technician, KISMA

Invasive Phragmites can be confused with another native plant, also called Phragmites. KISMA suggest replacing the Invasive Phragmites in wetlands with native plants such as Native Willow, Red Osier Dogwood, or Sweetgale. The hardest part for teams when removing the invasive plant is it’s wide spreading root system.

Which is a tall grass that can get up to about 10 to 15 feet tall. And it’s really just a pain in the butt to get rid of. Because one, it’s very massive, and two, it’s rhizomes and roots spread pretty far. Spread prevention is incredibly important, especially with (invasive) Phragmites. Like I said, more sites are being found, especially in areas we did not expect them to be in. – Megan Baird, Phramites Technician, KISMA

KISMA’s research on aquatic invasive plant species will begin in just a couple of weeks, and will go into the early fall. Along with research KISMA students offer boat cleaning sites spread out throughout the Keweenaw, that will take place at various times during the summer. Keeping the hull of your boat, kayak or canoe clean really helps these students out. As invasive species can attach to your hull, and travel with you to your next destination. Check out their scheduled boat cleanings and research online here.

KISMA Boat Wash

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