The Southwest by Southwest Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) is hosting a symposium about the invasive plant Japanese knotweed. The symposium will bring together experts to discuss how this plant grows and spreads as well as control and prevention techniques. The symposium will be held on Friday, September 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center at 601 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI. The event is free and lunch will be provided if attendees RSVP by September 15.
The event is targeted to road commission staff, municipal staff, land managers, landscapers, homeowners, environmental organizations, and anyone who owns or manages property that might be affected by Japanese knotweed. This non-native invasive plant (also known as Michigan Bamboo or Mexican Bamboo) is spreading explosively in parts of southwest Michigan. It can damage roads, pipes, sewer lines and building foundations. It also chokes out native vegetation, increases erosion, degrades water quality and harms habitat for fish and wildlife. Common control techniques like over-the-counter herbicides, pruning or mowing can actually stimulate its spread. Effective treatments for Japanese knotweed involve a combination of community education and using the right herbicides at the right time.
The featured speaker will be Dr. Leslie Kuhn, Field Projects Coordinator and Co-founder of the Mid-Michigan Stewardship Initiative, which works with private, commercial and municipal landowners on regional invasive species control projects. Dr. Kuhn is also a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Michigan State University, where she has combined her involvement with invasive species issues with her research interests. Other presenters will include partners of the SW x SW Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, the City of Kalamazoo, Native Landscapes, and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
People interested in attending are asked to RSVP for this free event by calling the Van Buren Conservation District at (269) 657-4030 x 5 or registering online at www.vanburencd.org/event/japanese-knotweed/. Three Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) credits will be available for attendees. This symposium is hosted by the SW x SW Corner CISMA, the City of St. Joseph and The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center and funded in part with funds from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program through the Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development.
The SW x SW Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is a partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, individuals, and various interested groups that manage (or have a stake in managing) invasive species in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties. Partners include the Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Conservation Districts, Chikaming Open Lands, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, The Stewardship Network and many others