Posts Tagged ‘michigan department of natural resources’

Oak Wilt Striking Michigan Trees

There is a fungal disease that has made its way into Michigan and is taking out our oak trees. As if we needed another forest pest to worry about, oak wilt has made an appearance in several Michigan counties. This is causing mass clear-cuttings in portions of the state, including in state parks.

The reason? The only way to stop the spread is to cut down all infected trees, and in many cases any oak surrounding an infected tree.

Since it’s relatively new in Michigan, we have an opportunity to help stop the spread. Here are some tips we all can do to help:

  • Watch your trees closely. If something doesn’t look right, report it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It may turn out to be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t trim oak trees from April 15 until July 15, or even through the entire summer if you want to err on the safe side. Any injury can create a way for the fungus to get into the tree. This means intentional injuries like trimming, or accidental ones from lawnmowers, weed whips, and storm damage. If you accidentally nick the trunk of your oak trees doing yard work, seal it up with pruning sealer or tree paint.
  • And the last tip we’re going to give is please don’t move firewood. It is tempting to save money and inconvenience by bringing wood with you when you go camping, but this can cause problems by carrying forests pests long distances and bringing them to new areas. Oak wilt is no exception. The fungus spores can live in the bark of firewood and infect healthy trees at your destination. Please buy where you intend to burn!

A Warning for Great Lakes States: A disease called “Oak wilt” is striking Michigan Forests

Oak tree effected by Oak wilt.

By , Great Lakes Now

If you head to Northern Michigan this summer, you might see some disturbing landscapes across the shoreline and in other spots across the state: clear-cutting. In most cases, it’s not because a shopping development or a subdivision is about to be constructed. It’s because of a fast-moving and deadly fungus that takes aim at Oak trees and can kill them in less than four weeks. And the only solution to stop the spread of the disease is to kill the trees it infects.

It’s called “Oak wilt” disease. Great Lakes Now talked with Jenna Johnson who’s a forest technician with AmeriCorps at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Cadillac. She says Oak wilt was first discovered in Great Lakes states in the 1940’s. It has caused major damage in Midwestern States like Minnesota but has only recently made its way into Michigan. She says Roscommon, the Gaylord area, Missaukee County, and Kalkaska County are being particularly hard-hit right now.

Beetles spreading Oak wilt

 

Johnson says, “Oak wilt is a vascular disease. It makes the tree unable to absorb water. It starves the tree to death.” She says the tree starts to die the minute it’s infected, and starts dropping all its leaves. She says it strikes Red oaks, Pin oaks and some White oaks. It’s spread by sap-feeding beetles that take aim at freshly wounded trees. And once one Oak tree is infected, all other Oak trees in the area are in danger of being infected.

She says if the tree isn’t cut down and removed from the area – right into the roots- followed by what’s called “vibratory plowing” down at least 5 feet into the ground to destroy the fungus –   Oak wilt could sweep across the state. The DNR says if Oak wilt isn’t stopped by cutting down infected trees, it could continue to spread, possibly killing almost all the Red oaks in Michigan.

At least 21 states are dealing with the disease, but the majority of Oak wilt cases are being discovered in the Midwest.

The DNR says Oak wilt isn’t just spread through live trees. It’s also spread by firewood that still has its bark. That’s why the DNR wants to get the word out this summer that no one should cut any kind of Oak trees – including power companies – from April 15th to July 15th, and there’s a ban on cutting Oak trees for firewood during this time, too. Bill O’Neill, State Forester of Michigan and Chief of the Forestry Division of the DNR   tells Great Lakes Now if you are gathering or buying firewood, “use and buy your firewood locally – get it from the vicinity where you’re going to be using it.” 

For more information go to http://www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Scholarship Opportunity for Wilderness Camp

Scholarship opportunity for Riley Wilderness Youth Camp

boy and girl fishing from dockEach year, Michigan United Conservation Clubs sponsors the Michigan Out-of-Doors (MOOD) Youth Camp at the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center in Chelsea. In the last seven decades, MOOD Youth Camp has engaged 57,000 young people in Michigan’s natural resources, taught them outdoor technical skills, and helped them develop a passion for conservation.

As part of a partnership with the Riley Wilderness Youth Camp, sponsored by SCI-Novi with a generous donation from the Riley Foundation, 80 boys and girls have the opportunity to learn more about hunting, conservation, environmental sciences and even obtain their hunter safety certificates. Riley Wilderness youth get a full scholarship to attend one of two sessions of camp, depending upon their age:

  • Junior Camp (ages 9-11), July 23-28
  • Advanced Camp (ages 12-14), July 30-Aug. 4

Each camp features a sampling of outdoor activities, ranging from archery and canoeing to fishing and hunter safety class.

These scholarships are available to youth who are interested in connecting with and learning more about the outdoors, and all are encouraged to apply.  For more information about scholarship criteria and an application, visit www.scinovi.com/rwyc.html.

More information about the camp can be found at www.mucccamp.org, or by contacting Camp Director Tyler Butler at tbutler@mucc.org.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Please Leave Wild Animals in the Wild

Springtime has returned to Michigan!

People are spending more time outside, exploring their nearby parks and woods. In the next few months you may even be lucky enough to come across some baby animals who are also going to be venturing farther from their den or nest.

However, it is important to leave wild animals in the wild. You may think that the youngster has been abandoned, but more often than not this is not the case. Baby deer can be left alone by their mothers for hours at a time. This is actually safer for them because predators can’t find them because of their parent’s smell. When learning to fly, baby birds may be stuck on the ground for a while. Be assured that the parents are nearby keeping watch, even if you can’t see them.

Our hearts might be in the right place when rescuing a seemingly abandoned baby, but we may end up doing more harm than good, and that’s the last thing we would have intended.

So enjoy the sights, but please leave wildlife wild. 🙂

Statewide DNR News

March 21, 2017

Contact: Hannah Schauer, 517-284-6218 or DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453

Leave wildlife in the wild – do not take baby animals from the wild this spring

unnamedSpring is here, bringing warmer temperatures and the next generation of wildlife. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds those who are outside, enjoying the experience of seeing wildlife raise its young, to view animals from a distance so they are not disturbed.

It’s important to remember that many species of wildlife hide their young for safety and that these babies are not abandoned. They simply have been hidden by their mother until she returns for them.

“Please resist the urge to help seemingly abandoned baby animals,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator for the DNR. “Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed on to humans or pets.”

Schauer added that some animals that have been picked up by people and do survive may become habituated and may be unable to revert back to life in the wild.

“Habituated animals pose additional problems as they mature and develop adult animal behavior,” Schauer said. “For example, habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they get older and reach breeding age.”

White-tailed deer fawns are one of the animals most commonly picked up by well-intentioned citizens.

Schauer explained that it is not uncommon for deer to leave their fawns unattended for up to eight hours at a time. This behavior minimizes the scent of the mother left around the fawn and allows the fawn to go undetected by nearby predators. While fawns may seem abandoned, they rarely are. All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way. The best chance for their survival is to leave them in the wild. If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it, as this might leave your scent and could attract predators. Give it plenty of space and quickly leave the area. The mother deer will return for her fawns when she feels it is safe; she may not return if people or dogs are present.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless you are licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including deer, in Michigan.

The only time a baby animal may be removed from the wild is when you know the parent is dead or the animal is injured. Please remember, a licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the wild. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators must adhere to the laws and have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals. Licensed rehabilitators will work to return the animal to the wild where it will have the best chance for survival.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting mi.gov/wildlife or by calling a local DNR office.

/Editors’ note: An accompanying photo is available below for download. A suggested caption follows.

A white-tailed deer fawn waits for its mother to return./

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Kick Off the New Year with Some Outdoor Fun

Stepping outside your door may not always be an appealing idea in the winter, the cold making you want to huddle inside with a hot drink. However, there are a lot of fun things to do in the winter that only the presence of snow makes possible.

Would sledding be any fun without it? How about skiing? And I don’t think you’d be able to go ice skating without these cold temps. You’d certainly be wetter than you planned anyway.

Getting outside in winter just takes a little more preparation and planning, but can be just as much fun as any summertime activity (and with the added benefit of no pesky bugs).

Our State Parks and Recreation Areas are a great place to find some winter amusement. For example, several will be holding ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ snowshoe hikes to celebrate the New Year. Getting in shape is a new year’s resolution for many, why not start with a nice hike through the snowy woods?

Michigan state parks help kick off 2017 resolutions with ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ hikes

Contact: Stephanie Yancer, 989-274-6182
Agency: Natural Resources

Dec. 27, 2016

visitor on her snowshoesFor many people, a new year is the time for making resolutions. Frequently, those resolutions involve making a pledge to become healthier. With that sentiment in mind, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to kick off 2017 by bringing Michigan’s great outdoors into the mix.

The DNR, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Recreation and Park Association are joining together to encourage residents to shift their New Year’s resolutions into high gear at “Shoe Year’s Day” hikes taking place Dec. 31-Jan. 8 at several Michigan state parks and recreation areas.

“There are countless benefits to using Michigan’s great outdoors as your gym,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “People tend to work out longer, enjoy their workout more, and burn more calories by exercising outside, while enjoying the beauty of our state.”

All “Shoe Year’s Day” hikes are free; however, a Recreation Passport is required for any vehicle entering a Michigan state park or recreation areas. Snowshoes will be available to rent at most locations.

According to Olson, the Recreation Passport is a great value and may be the most affordable gym membership available. The annual pass costs residents $11 for vehicle access to 103 state parks and 138 state forest campgrounds, as well as parking for hundreds of trails and staffed boat launches.

The following Shoe Year’s guided hikes are scheduled:

  • Maybury State Park (Wayne County) Dec. 31 at 10 a.m.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County) Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.
  • Waterloo Recreation Area (Jackson County) Jan. 1 at 11 a.m.Shoe Year's Hike infographic
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County) Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.
  • Ludington State Park (Mason County) Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
  • Rockport Recreation Area (Alpena County) Jan. 7 at noon
  • Sleeper State Park (Huron County) Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
  • Straits State Park (Cheboygan County) Jan. 7  at 5 p.m.
  • Mitchell State Park (Wexford County) Jan. 8 at 1 p.m.

If you can’t make it to one of the fun events going on across the state, you can still take advantage of Michigan’s parks, trails and waterways on your own time by visiting a Michigan state park or recreation area, the Iron Belle Trail or the more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.

Michigan is part of the nationwide First Day Hikes program coordinated by the National Association of State Park Directors. They were inspired by the First Day Hikes that originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 55,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 133,000 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country.

Visit www.michigan.gov/shoeyearhikes to view the calendar of events.

Share your resolution on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using #MiShoeYear.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Announces 2017 Community Forestry Grants

Up to $90,000 available for forestry projects statewide

Contact: Kevin Sayers, 517-284-5898
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 9, 2016

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the availability of grant applications for the 2016-17 DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program. The grants are funded through the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program.

Local units of government, nonprofit organizations, schools and tribal governments are eligible and encouraged to apply for the grants, which can be used for a variety of projects including:

  • Urban forest management and planning activities.
  • Tree planting on public property.
  • Urban forestry and arborist training and education events and materials.
  • Arbor Day celebrations and materials.

“Assistance provided through this grant program will help communities and partners interested in creating and supporting long-term and sustained urban and community forestry projects and programs at the local level,” said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry Program coordinator.

Grant applications must be postmarked by Sept. 16, 2016. Projects awarded funding must be completed by Sept. 1, 2017. All projects must be performed on public land or land that is open to the public.

A total of up to $90,000 is available for projects statewide. Depending on the project type, applicants may request grants up to $20,000. All grants require a one-to-one match of funds, which can be cash contributions or in-kind services but cannot include federal funds.

For a grant application or more information, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/ucf, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898 or sayersk@michigan.gov, or write to DNR Forest Resources Division, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Please Don’t Release Class Pets Into the Wild

rustycrayfish2

Above: One of the invasive species you should be looking out for, the Rusty Crayfish. This crayfish has been found in curriculum kits shipped to schools across the U.S.

 

Having a class pet, plant, or aquarium is a great teaching tool. It can teach students about life cycles, biology, responsibility, and a whole host of other life and classroom lessons.

Yet what happens to these plants and animals once the school year is over? Who takes care of them then? Many times the solutions to this issue are not very environmentally friendly. Often these animals end up being released into the local park or waterway. People may think that this is a good thing, that they’re returning them to nature, to live out the rest of their lives in the wild.

However, this isn’t usually the outcome and the release of these plants and animals may have disastrous consequences on your local environment.

The press release below is from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  It gives good tips on what to do with these plants and animals as well as information on a few invasive species you should be on the lookout for when ordering that next classroom project.

 

June 10, 2016

Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

Keep the teacher’s pets – and plants – from going wild this summer

Choose environmentally safe options for pet and plant disposal

As the school year wraps up, teachers around the state are packing up supplies, cleaning up classrooms and deciding what to do with classroom pets. The Michigan Invasive Species Program reminds teachers and hobbyists not to release pets, fish or aquarium plants into the wild.

Some common classroom pets and plants are considered invasive in Michigan. Infestations of rusty crayfish and Eurasian watermilfoil throughout the state may be a result of aquarium owners releasing them into local lakes or streams. The same could happen if invaders not yet confirmed to be in Michigan – including red swamp crayfish, hydrilla, or giant African snails, all popular science exhibits – are released alive back into nature.

Currently, those are among the 55 invasive species listed as prohibited or restricted in Michigan.  It is unlawful to possess, introduce, import, sell or offer these species for sale as live organisms, except under certain circumstances.

How do prohibited and restricted species get here?

Many teachers order curriculum kits, including plants and animals, from biological supply companies. These kits can have generic content labels, like “crayfish and aquatic plants,” rather than species-specific names. In such cases, teachers wouldn’t know if the species were prohibited or restricted in Michigan. Not all classroom or retail suppliers maintain updated lists of state-regulated species, so it is possible for teachers and aquarium enthusiasts to unknowingly order and receive plants, animals or fish that are not legal in Michigan.

The Department of Natural Resources has taken steps to stop the importation of invasive species through trade.

“The Great Lakes Commission, with the support of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, has an ongoing project developing a Web-crawler that looks for prohibited and restricted species for sale online,” said Steve Huff, commercial fish specialist with the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “If suppliers’ policies don’t restrict shipment of these species to Michigan, LED notifies them in writing and follows up with a phone call regarding state laws.”

However, what is available on the Web changes daily, and many pets and plants are purchased from hobbyists through chat rooms, marketplace sites and overseas exchanges. Ultimately, Huff said, it is the consumer’s responsibility to be familiar with state law to assure they are not receiving prohibited or restricted species.

What happens to classroom pets after school lets out?

In a survey conducted by Oregon State University Sea Grant, 40 percent of teachers disagreed with the practice of euthanizing classroom pets when no longer needed in the classroom. If pets and plants had not died on their own, the most common means of disposal included giving them to students or other teachers, putting them in the trash or releasing them to the wild.

However, these end-of-school year options identified in the survey are problematic if the pet or plant is an invasive species. Giving classroom pets and plants away to others places the problem in someone else’s hands and could lead to an eventual release. The trash is appropriate for dead invasive plant or animal specimens, but plant materials should be placed in a sealed bag before disposal and never composted.

What’s wrong with returning them to nature?

Even non-invasive pets and plants should not be released in the wild.  Though release seems to be a humane option, most non-native pets will not survive in Michigan’s environment due to climate, predators or the inability to find appropriate food and shelter. Pets or plants that easily adapt have the potential to become invasive – think of Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades, or the invasive kudzu vine throughout the southern states.

Even if a pet or plant itself is not invasive, it can introduce diseases that affect native wildlife. In January of this year, 201 species of non-native salamanders were added to the federal list of species considered injurious to wildlife, in order to protect native salamanders in the U. S. from contracting a fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, known as Bsal or salamander chytrid. According to a news release by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Bsal has caused major die-offs of salamanders in Europe and poses a threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States.”

In 2007, concern about the spread of fish disease prompted Michigan to limit the release of both native and non-native live fish into Michigan waters. To prevent the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, Fisheries Order 245-16  (recently revised) makes it illegal to place a live fish in Michigan public waters without a permit, except in certain circumstances including releasing a freshly caught fish into the body of water where it was caught.

Best practices for pet and plant disposal

A new campaign in Michigan aims to Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes. The RIPPLE project, co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan State University Extension, aims at educating both consumers and retailers about proper containment and disposal methods for plants and animals associated with the pond and pet store industries. Helpful tips advise to:

  • Properly dispose of all plant materials removed from ponds, water gardens or aquariums. Seal plant materials in a plastic bag and place them in the trash, not the compost pile.
  • Give or trade unwanted pets and plants with another hobbyist, environmental learning center, aquarium or zoo.
  • Contact a veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance on humane disposal of animals.
  • If you suspect you may have received a prohibited or restricted plant species in a shipment, contact MDARD immediately at 1-800-292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov.
  • If you suspect you may have received a prohibited or restricted fish, mollusk or crustacean in a shipment, contact Seth Herbst at DNR, 517-284-5841 or herbsts@michigan.gov.

More information about RIPPLE and Michigan’s prohibited and restricted species is available on Michigan’s invasive species website www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested captions for photos follow.

Red swamp crayfish:  Red swamp crayfish have been found in classroom curriculum kits shipped across the U.S. Photo courtesy Chris Taylor, Illinois History Survey, Bugwood.org.

Giant African snail:  Giant African snail invasions in Florida and Hawaii may have originated from illegal importation of the snails as pets. Photo courtesy Andrew Dersken, USDA APHIS, Bugwood.org./


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Watch Out! Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is on the Move

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Another invasive pest is making its way around Michigan. While the spread is not as fast as the Emerald Ash Borer, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid poses just as large a threat. This small aphid-like insect specifically targets hemlock trees and has decimated stands across the eastern United States. Due to its small size, it’s very difficult to detect in areas with low populations (i.e. newly infested areas). That is why it is so important for people to observe their surroundings even when out on routine tasks. This new infestation in Ottawa County was discovered by an alert arborist working in Park Township. Early detection is key with invasive species.

See the press release below for more details and check out the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s website for information on how to identify Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an infestation map, quarantine information and restrictions, and more.

Exotic Insect Found Infesting Hemlock Trees in Ottawa County

Confirmed in three locations in Park Township

For immediate Release: August 13, 2015

Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
Program contact: 800-292-3939

LANSING – Today, Ottawa County residents have an alert arborist to thank for the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid, which triggered response efforts by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help protect the state’s hemlock trees and other natural resources.

The infestation was discovered in June by an alert arborist working in Park Township who reported his suspicion to MDARD. Samples were sent to a United States Department of Agriculture insect identifier who confirmed the insect as HWA.  MDARD immediately initiated a survey of hemlock trees within a mile of the positive site and during that survey two more positive locations were discovered. Impacted property owners have been notified and the known infested trees are being treated. MDARD is currently working with its state and federal partners on a comprehensive response plan.

HWA is a small, aphid-like insect that uses its long siphoning mouthparts to extract sap from hemlock trees.  Native to eastern Asia, HWA was discovered in Virginia in 1951 and has since spread over an area from Georgia to Maine, decimating hemlock stands across much of the eastern U.S. HWA will cause widespread tree mortality and move to other areas if left untreated.

“Michigan is home to more than 100 million hemlock trees which provide valuable habitat for various animals including birds, deer and fish. These trees are critical to the ecology and aesthetics of Michigan’s northern forests,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This discovery underscores the importance of citizen involvement in exotic pest detection.  Without the report from an alert individual, it may have gone unnoticed for months, or even years, making management of this devastating pest much more difficult.”

The area of concern is described as all portions of Park Township in Ottawa County north of Lake Macatawa. It’s bounded by New Holland Street to the north, Division Avenue/144th Avenue to the east, Lake Macatawa to the south and Lake Michigan to the west. People who live, work and play in the area of concern should be aware that HWA can be very difficult to detect at low population levels because the insect is so small.  The movement of hemlock materials (trees, branches and twigs) could spread HWA.  At this time, hemlock materials should not be removed from properties within the area of concern.  It’s recommended no hemlock trees be brought into the area of concern as they run the risk of becoming infested. Also, because birds move HWA, people in the area of concern should remove any bird feeders from hemlock trees.

The origin of these infestations is not known. Work is being conducted by MDARD in an effort to identify the source of the infestation. So far, no clear source has been found, but a likely source is hemlock nursery stock moved into Michigan from infested areas outside of the state either prior to MDARD’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine implemented in 2002, or in violation of the quarantine. There are no known established populations of HWA anywhere else in Michigan.

“Nursery operators, landscapers and homeowners should never accept hemlock from quarantined areas, and never accept hemlock without proper certification,” said Alessandri. “Examine your hemlock for the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of the branches where the needles attach.  If you suspect HWA, contact MDARD immediately.”

Michigan law restricts the movement of hemlock into the state, and includes a complete ban of movement of hemlock into the state from infested areas.

See a map showing the “area of concern” here.

Read MDARD’s “Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Quarantine” here.

To report a possible HWA detection, contact MDARD at 800- 292-3939 or MDA-info@michigan.gov

Additional information on HWA, including pictures, and other invasive and exotic species threatening Michigan can be found at www.michigan.gov/exoticpests.

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