Don’t Plant Those “Bee-Friendly” Wildflowers Cheerios Is Giving Away

Read the full story at Lifehacker.

Bee populations are in decline, and Cheerios wants to help. So far, so good. But they are sending free packets of wildflower seeds to people all over the country—and some of the flowers included are invasive species that, in some areas, you should probably not plant.

Fight invasives or protect pollinators: Neonicotinoids present tough choice

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides frequently used in agriculture, gets plenty of bad press for killing pollinators like honeybees.

But they’ve also emerged as an important combatant of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has devastated ash tree populations all over the United States with the highest risk localized to the American Midwest and the northern half of the eastern seaboard.

Can New DNA Science Help Keep Our Fish Safe?

Read the full story at NPR.

Scientists are experimenting with species’ environmental DNA to find out how far and how fast it travels in streams. The technology is starting to revolutionize how we protect native animals.

Toxin kills thousands of birds along Lake Michigan shoreline

Read the full story from Interlochen Public Radio.

Since 2006, Lake Michigan has seen a steady stream of dead birds washing up on its beaches, and this fall has been exceptionally grim.

Funding opp: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2016 RFA

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from eligible entities for grants and/or cooperative agreements to be awarded pursuant to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II (PDF) (30 pp, 5.1 MB, About PDF). This RFA is EPA’s major competitive grant funding opportunity under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for FY 2016 and FY 2017. It is one of several funding opportunities available through federal agencies under the GLRI. It is not anticipated that EPA will offer funding opportunities for these categories again in FY 2017.

Up to approximately $26 million may be awarded in total as grants and/or cooperative agreements under this RFA for approximately 56 projects in the seven categories listed below, contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.

Applications are requested for projects within the seven categories listed below, each of which has a separate Funding Opportunity Number (FON) and is separately posted on Applicants must apply for the specific funding opportunity they are interested in.


Funding Opportunity Number appears in parentheses after each category.

  • Great Lakes Taxonomy and Barcodes to Support Early Detection Monitoring (EPA-R5-GL2016-TAG)
  • Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2016-ISC)
  • Foundations for Invasive Species Collaborations (EPA-R5-GL2016-FFC)
  • Phosphorus Risk Reduction Pilots in Western Lake Erie Agricultural Watersheds (EPA-R5-GL2016-PRR)
  • Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-AWM)
  • Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-UWM)
  • Agricultural Incentive Program Effectiveness (EPA-R5-GL2016-IPE)


Nonfederal governmental entities, including state agencies, interstate agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations, local governments, institutions of higher learning (i.e., colleges and universities), and non-profit organizations as defined in 2 C.F.R. § 200 are eligible to apply for funding under this RFA.  Individuals, foreign organizations and governments, nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying, and “for-profit” organizations are not eligible.

Important Dates

These dates are subject to change.

  • Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, 1:00 p.m. Central /2:00 p.m. Eastern – A webinar will be held to discuss the RFA. See Section IV for further information.
  • Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 –Applications must be submitted to EPA through by 10:59 p.m. Central/11:59 p.m. Eastern. See Section IV for further submission information.
  • March 2017 (tentative) – EPA will begin notifying finalists.
  • May 2017 (tentative) – EPA will begin making official awards.

Contact Info

  • Great Lakes Taxonomy and Barcodes to Support Early Detection Monitoring (EPA-R5-GL2016-TAG): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Invasive Species Control (EPA-R5-GL2016-ISC): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Foundations for Invasive Species Collaborations (EPA-R5-GL2016-FFC): Jamie Schardt ( 312-353-5085
  • Phosphorus Risk Reduction Pilots in Western Lake Erie Agricultural Watersheds (EPA-R5-GL2016-PRR): Santina Wortman ( 312-353-8319
  • Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-AWM): Paul Thomas ( 312-886-7742
  • Urban Watershed Management Implementation (EPA-R5-GL2016-UWM): Jacqueline Adams ( 312-353-7203
  • Agricultural Incentive Program Effectiveness (EPA-R5-GL2016-IPE): T. Kevin O’Donnell ( 312-886-0813

Online tool combats sales of invasives

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

The Great Lakes Commission created a web tool designed to prevent sales of aquatic invasive species over the Internet. Now, the commission is working to get it into the hands of state and federal regulators.

The software crawls the web looking for sites selling plants or animals invasive to the Great Lakes and then records the data. In the first 30 days of data gathering the web tool found 58 different invasive species sold online.

Project’s director Erika Jensen says most of the invaders purchased are aquatic plants. They make their way from homes into the environment.

Why Cities Have to Care About Native Plants

Read the full story at CityLab.

Invasive species are tricky to eradicate. A recent piece in Smithsonian described how some land managers in Maryland are resorting to flame throwers to scorch the unwelcome and aggressive guests—including lesser clenandine—into oblivion. Removing the weeds by hand can have a counterproductive effect by broadcasting portions of the entangled root system to a new location.

Removal is tough, but it matters. As native plants’ numbers dwindle, so do the populations of native pollinators that survive on them. In turn, that shrinking cohort struggles to pollinate crops and sustain habitats.