Learn about invasive species in the watershed.

It’s important to know how to identify and prevent invasive species from spreading. Invasive species are not native to the region and flourish without a natural predator or other means of natural balance. These invasive species spread quickly and exhaust resources used by native species, crowding them out.

Aquatic invasive species include plants and animals. Most commonly known are zebra mussels, the sea lamprey, round gobies, eurasion milfoil, phragmites, and the asian carp. In a region like Southeast Michigan with its many lakes and streams, there are lots of opportunities for aquatic invasives to spread. Proper lake and stream management as well as maintenance of boating equipment can help.

Most importantly, DO NOT PULL INVASIVE AQUATIC PLANT SPECIES out of infested areas. This can actually help spread the plant’s seeds or its fragments which can root elsewhere.

Identifying Invasive Species

Check the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) for an up-to-date list of invasive species and how to identify them. MISIN is a regional effort to develop and provide an early detection and rapid response (EDRR) resource for invasive species (terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants). Their goal is to assist both experts and citizen scientists in the detection and identification of invasive species in support of the successful management of invasive species.


Many AQUATIC INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES clog boat propellers, overrun beaches, and compete with native plant life that sustain fish and many aquatic animals. Unfortunately, once an aquatic invasive plant has spread, it can be nearly impossible to remove it.

Early detection and rapid response is the best method!

Keep watch with the Michigan Invasive Plant Network’s (MIPN) Keep A Lookout Flyer for new invasive plants in the Midwest. MIPN is a deep resource for aquatic and terrestrial plant information, providing resources for identifying, preventing, control and management of aquatic and terrestrial invasive plants. MIPN is also a member of the Great Lakes Early Detection Network, which has a web-based reporting tool.

If you have an eye for spotting aquatic invasive plants, consider becoming a Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) Volunteer.


Many varieties of carp, mollusks, and even the goldfish are listed as invasive species. These animals can compete with native populations by spreading disease, or consuming native habitats, food sources,  or the species itself. It is important to remember to not release animals into a different habitat. 

Terrestrial Plants

Introduction of non-native plants into our landscape has been both accidental and deliberate. If a non-native plant grows aggressively, it is considered “invasive” and can have devastating effects on other plant populations. Purple loosestrife, for example, was introduced from Europe in the 1800′s in ship ballast and as a medicinal herb and ornamental plant. It quickly spread and is now crowding out the native species that provide food for aquatic creatures in 42 states.

Examples of invasive species in Southeast Michigan include: Norway maple (acer plantanoides), Autumn Olive (Eleagnus umbellata), Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica, Rhamnus frangula), Privet (Ligustrum vulare) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica, Lonicera maackii, Lonicera tatarica).

Natural Area Preservation Division of the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Department. Has detailed information on invasive plant species, including lists, fact sheets and links to reliable invasive plant data and tips for preventing and controlling their spread.