Invasive Species

SW x SW Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA)

The SW x SW Corner CISMA is a grant-funded program that covers Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties in Southwest Michigan. The CISMA works to preserve natural ecosystem functions through the responsible management of invasive species on a landscape scale. In order to achieve this, the primary focus of the project is mapping & surveying invasive species populations, education, and maintaining a strategic plan to properly manage and eradicate invasive species.


An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan’s economy, environment and human health. Species like poison ivy or Virginia creeper may not be our favorites, but they are native to Michigan, and play an important part in our environment!

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Contact Alex Florian, Invasive Species Coordinator, to help with identification, reporting, and proper management by calling 269-633-9044 or emailing

Watch List & Target Species

  • Asian Long-horned Beetle: larvae feeds on the wood of many tree species including maple, poplar, willow, sycamore, and horse chestnut, eventually killing the tree
  • Black & Pale Swallowwort: a perennial vine with purplish-brown flowers; seedpods similar to milkweed plants
  • Chinese Yam: a slender vine that spiral counterclockwise with pointed, heart-shaped leaves
  • European Frogbit: a floating perennial plant that can form thick mats
  • Flowering Rush: grows 1-4′ along shores & shallows. Hard to identify when not flowering (blooms June – Aug.)
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: tiny insects secrete white wax as they feed on sap from hemlock shoots and  branches. Hemlock woolly adelgid feeding can kill needles, shoots and branches
  • Japanese Knotweed: a fast growing perennial with hollow, bamboo-like stems forming dense, leafy thickets, tolerate full sun exposure as well as deep shade
    • A Japanese Knotweed Herbicide Injection Tool is available for residents to borrow for proper fall treatment. See Equipment Rentals for more information.
  • Japanese Stiltgrass: resembles small, delicate bamboo. It grows 2-3 feet tall and has asymmetrical leaves that are pale green and lance-shaped. This grass generally grows in moist, rich soils and can
  • Kudzu: a vine that extends 32-100 feet, with up to 30 vines per plant. It has alternate, compound leaves with three broad leaflets and in late summer produces purple individual flowers that grow in upright clusters
  • Phragmites: also called Common Reed, a tall, perennial wetland grass with distinctive, fluffy seed heads
  • Spotted Lanternfly: sucks sap from the stems and leaves of orchard trees, grape vines, oaks, pines and other host plants. Feeding can weaken the plant and eventually contribute to its death. Threes will develop weeping wounds that attract other insects and excreted fluids from spotted lanternflies can cause mold growth on plants
  • Other Species Profiles and Reporting Information
  • Oak Wilt

         Report Invasive Species

Invasive species are easiest to manage when they are first introduced, since it is much easier to mange just a few plants, instead of acres of them. Because of this, Early Detection is key to protecting our resources! We lean on partners, residents, and citizen scientists to help report emerging species, since they see far more of the county than the CISMA ever will. When you spot invasive species, we encourage you to report them using MISIN!

MISIN, the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, is program through MSU to help identify and map invasive species throughout the area. Using either the website or the phone app, you can report invasive species locations for managers and municipalities. Or, visit the website to look at what has been reported in your area!


 Additional Resources:

Local Collaboration with: Berrien Conservation District, Cass Conservation DistrictChikaming Open LandsSouthwest Michigan Land ConservancyThe Stewardship Network, Van Buren Conservation District

Other Partners


Program Partners: 









This project was 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