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About Us & FAQ

CAKE CISMA is a cooperative organization dedicated to collaborative invasive species management throughout Northern Michigan. 

Founded by local governments, environmental professionals, and area non-profits in 2015, the Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, and Emmet Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area has always been about collaboration. From restoring habitat through invasive species management to educating homeowners on how to tackle that pesky invasive plant in their yard, we're here to help. We believe that together we do more and we work closely on projects with our partner organizations.  


Our mission:

To protect the natural resources, economy, and human health of Northern Lower Michigan through collaborative outreach and management of invasive species.

Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan seeks to address invasive species challenges in our region and guide our approach to solving them. 

  • What is a CISMA?
    Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are partnerships of groups and individuals that work to address invasive species impacts on the environment, economy and human health within a defined region. By collaborating across jurisdictional boundaries, CISMAs work to leverage resources and overcome challenges associated with the prevention, early detection, response and control of invasive species. Each CISMA is governed by a steering committee and their priorities are identified within a strategic plan. CAKE CISMA was started in 2015, thanks to help from local conservation districts, environmental professionals, and the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP). Every county in the state of Michigan has a CISMA.
  • What does CAKE CISMA do?
    Our staff work across several areas of invasive species management. We focus on education, outreach, and restoration. We host educational events at schools, we do invasive species treatment days with local non-profits, and treat high priority invasive species throughout our 4 county area. Most often we work with terrestrial invasive species, but occasionally work with aquatic invasive species as well. For specific info on our projects check out our projects page.
  • Where does CAKE CISMA work?
    Anywhere in Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, and Emmet counties, including Beaver Island. We work with the Beaver Island Archipelago Terrestrial Invasive Species Program to jointly manage invasive species within the beaver island archipelago.
  • Who does CAKE CISMA work with?
    We work with 30+ partner organizations at the local, state, and regional level. We also work with private citizens to answer questions, serve as a resource, and treat high-priority invasive species on their property. Recently we've been working on projects with organizations like Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. We also go to area schools for lessons and field days and offer presentations about invasive species to local organizations free of charge.
  • How is CAKE CISMA funded?
    We are entirely grant funded. We are currently operating under grants from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP) from the State of Michigan, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through the EPA as well as several other grants. We occasionally apply for local community grants for specific projects.
  • How does CAKE CISMA choose what to work on?
    Previously, we've focused on treating what we call our: Top 5 Least Wanted Plants in Northern Michigan. This list of plants included invasive phragmites, black swallow-wort, Japanese/giant knotweed, asiatic bittersweet, and purple loosestrife. These plants were chosen for reasons like: they're not yet wide-spread, they're particularly harmful to the environment, etc. For the past few years we've been able to treat any of those plants for free for anyone in our service area. Currently, we're working on a 4-county wide prioritization map to help guide us when choosing which natural communities throughout northern Michigan need our help the most. This doesn't mean we'll stop treating our Top 5 Least Wanted, but rather that we want to focus where we can make the most difference. If you have an invasive species management project you'd like us to work on please contact our program coordinator Kyle, at
  • I think I found an invasive species, what should I do?
    First, verify that it's an invasive species. Reference multiple photos, descriptions, habitat preferences and range maps. Many invasive species have "look-alike" plants that may be mistaken as invasive species. For help with ID check out the Midwest Invasive Species Network (MISIN) website or our ID reference cards on our site. Next, report it to us or use the MISIN application to report it yourself! We receive reports for species submitted via the MISIN app in our service area. We may be able to come treat the species for you, or suggest ways you can do it yourself.
  • Will CAKE CISMA treat invasive species on my property?
    It depends on the species and your property. We tend to focus our treatment on high priority habitats or on high priority species. High priority habitats are natural areas that may be under above average environmental stress, are particularly important to large-scale ecosystem function, or contain threatened/endangered species. High priority species are species within the CAKE service area that we've determined have the potential to cause extensive environmental degradation or may spread rapidly if left untreated. For example, we don't often treat Autumn Olive on private property, but we do treat Japanese Knotweed on private properties. If you'd like to know if your property qualifies for free or low-cost treatment contact us, our site visits are always free!
  • Does CAKE CISMA use herbicides to treat invasive species?
    It depends on the plant, location, and what the landowner prefers. CAKE CISMA uses the best management practices for each of the species we work to control in each habitat. Sometimes it is most effective and least environmentally detrimental to use chemical controls, sometimes biological controls work best, and sometimes mechanical control is the best practice. No one solution is best for every species or every situation. When using herbicides, CAKE CISMA is careful to select the product that will be most effective with the least impact on non-target species and systems. We also have a wealth of information on best management practices for invasive species, if you have questions, just ask us!
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