Map featuring the Lake Michigan Coastal Region with managed areas
Midwest Invasive Plant Network, or MIPN
The mission of the Indiana Coastal Cooperative Weed Management Area (ICCWMA) is to strategically protect biodiversity and natural communities from the threats presented by invasive plants within the Lake Michigan Coastal Zone in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties in Indiana through a coordinated approach.
Specifically, the ICCWMA strives to:
- Efficiently combat existing and new infestations of invasive plants;
- Increase public awareness of the detrimental effects of invasive plants on biodiversity;
- Address the problem of invasive plants at a landscape scale by gaining support and cooperation from owners and managers of land held for purposes other than conservation.
- Paul Labus and Susan MiHalo, The Nature Conservancy in Indiana
- Derek Nimetz, Regional Ecologist, Lake Michigan Coastal Region, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
- Emily Stork, Division of Nature Preserves, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
- John Kwilosz, National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
- Cathy Martin, Save the Dunes
- Danny Robertson, Shirley Heinze Land Trust
- Daniel Goldfarb, Wildlife Habitat Council
- Rafi Wilkinson, Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy
All of the above organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Other ICCWMA members who have signed the MOU include:
- Lake County Parks and Recreation Department
- Northern Indiana Public Service Company
Program of Work & Accomplishments
Priorities are natural areas within the Lake Michigan Coastal Region that contain endangered species and highly diverse plant communities, as well as landowners adjacent to these natural areas.
Starting in 2010, the ICCWMA undertook a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) project as a “first line of defense” against invasive species that are having a severe impact on landscape-scale conservation efforts as the invasives spread along shorelines, roads, trails and railroad lines; or are carried across Lake Michigan during storm events.
Managed by The Nature Conservancy in Indiana, this grant has allowed the ICCWMA to formalize an actionable workplan, conduct effective outreach; and map, document and treat a relatively new invasive, Lyme Grass (Leymus arenarius), that is starting to appear along the Lake Michigan coastline. Lyme Grass could eventually displace marram grass, disrupting that plant community and its important role in foredune and dune establishment.
Even more significantly, GLRI funds have allowed the ICCWMA to work together to treat more than 142 acres of property owned by IDNR, NIPSCO and Save the Dunes infested by Common Reed (Phragmites australis), Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), an invasive hybridized Cattail (Typha sp. glauca), and Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.).
Monthly meetings help to facilitate collaboration and information exchange on topics such as effective control methods and new invaders noted in the area. Action-oriented collaboration includes joint workdays. The ICCWMA also periodically conducts public outreach on invasives by hosting events and exhibiting at related events.
Also resulting from the GLRI grant, the ICCWMA also has a formally adopted a list of 83 invasive species that should be targeted for control efforts in the Lake Michigan Watershed of Indiana.
If you are interested in participating in the ICCWMA, please contact Susan MiHalo, ICCWMA Coordinator.
The ICCWMA is funded by the GLRI, Environmental Protection Agency, Project Number #10, under Task Agreement J2148110006 of the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit under Cooperative Agreement H6000082000 between the National Park Service and the University of Minnesota.