Love Michigan’s waters? Online program lets residents paddle for a cause

Michigan News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – An online program helps make our lakes go from great to even better by allowing residents to help protect these precious resources.

Multiple groups have come together to develop MI Paddle Stewards which is a self-paced online program for paddlers to learn how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan’s beautiful lakes and rivers.

Aquatic invasive species are plants, fish, snails, viruses, and other organisms that move into and colonize ecosystems where they don’t belong. Invasives usually damage native species and water quality in the process.

In six short sessions learn how to identify and report invasive species that pose the greatest threat to Michigan’s waters whether you canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.

Users will also learn how to effectively clean their watercraft and gear to ensure invasive species don’t travel with them on their next adventure.

A $20 registration fee includes a certificate, bucket hat, towel, waterproof phone case, and dry bag once they complete the course. Participants can take the course for free if they choose not to receive these items. All six sessions must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.

More than 150 people became certified MI Paddle Stewards in 2019.

The program is available with support from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant ProgramMichigan Sea Grant, and Michigan State University Extension.

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