BASF Corporation
DTE Energy
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Eastern Michigan University
Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority
International Wildlife Refuge Alliance
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division
Monroe Conservation District
Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Stewardship Network
The Nature Conservancy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Habitat Council

The DRWLE CWMA is a collaborative effort of 13 members comprised of federal, state, regional, and local government agencies; environmental organizations; businesses; and universities. In 2011, when the CWMA was formed, the partners signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) outlining goals, expectations, and responsibilities. The MOU directs the CWMA’s focus towards prevention through detection, inventory, monitoring, and education.

Prior to formation of the DRWLE CWMA, agency personnel were working on Phragmites management, but were not coordinated, did not share resources, and rarely communicated. These partnerships improved communication, results, coordinated and consistent treatments, and monitoring. Collaboration also resulted in more competitive grant proposals, and the ability to share long-term management responsibility among partners. However, communication between partners during the field season can be slow due to competing priorities, and limited resources require that only the highest priority grants and projects be undertaken.

Collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, Michigan DNR, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authoity, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has resulted in maximized efficiency for Phragmites management. A cooperative agreement among key partners governs the use of a Marsh Master amphibious vehicle and a “Phragmites Strike Team” was created using staff and equipment, which collectively manage Phragmites in large areas.


The DRWLE CWMA Memorandum of Understanding with partners

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) has been the primary research partner in this project. Prior to CWMA establishment, EMU was completing a large research project that resulted in detailed habitat and Phragmites distribution maps across nearly all member lands. Important publications and theses resulted from this work regarding the impact of Phragmites and its management, along with multiple functions of coastal wetlands that improve the quality of work currently being executed.

During the first five years of the project, the CWMA received funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, in addition to in-kind contributions from primary partners. As a result of those large federal grants, the CWMA has not struggled with personnel, equipment, and funding. Funding received by the CWMA is administered through a fiduciary, and The Nature Conservancy has served as fiduciary for the two GLRI grants received to date. The International Wildlife Refuge Alliance is serving as fiduciary for the current state MISGP grant.