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North Country CISMA targets plants harmful to monarch butterflies, humans with grant funding

CADILLAC — North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area just received a more than $100,000 grant from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

The co-op manages invasive species in their six county regions through education, prevention and control. They said the grant money will be used to fund operational costs and projects like surveying and the control of black swallow-wort along the Mecosta and Isabella County lines.

“Black swallow-wort is a vine that looks like a milkweed, but it grows like a vine and it acts as a sink for monarch butterflies. In the presence of black swallow-wort, monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on that often instead of milkweed. When their larva hatches and eats the black swallow-wort, they die. So it’s pretty important to stop it from spreading,” said Vicki Sawicki, NCCISMA coordinator.

They’ll also focus efforts in Wexford and Osceola County to control wild parsnip, which contains sap that burns human skin.

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