Give DNR chief credit for noting invasives ‘failures’

Keith Creagh, who serves as director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources director, earned points with a lot of people last week when he observed – correctly, we think – that the state’s overall record in battling invasive species over the years has been spotty.

In a front page story Friday penned by Journal Staff Writer John Pepin, Creagh, who visited the region earlier in the week, opined that the state should have done more in the face of threats such as the Asian carp.

“We need to do a better job on our risk assessments, we need to do a better job on our pathways and we need to do a better job on education,” Creagh said. “Then we need to do a better job on our management once it’s detected. It’s very complex. Very robust science is needed. We can use some technology advances on how do you detect, contain and eradicate invasive species, because our track record is very poor over the decades.”

Other non-aquatic invasives cited by Creagh included chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, hemlock wooly adelgid and sudden oak death.

Here’s the challenge facing Creagh. Recognizing a problem isn’t solving it, but it is a step in that direction.

Next must come funding to underwrite the effort. And with state dollars at an all-time premium, that battle could be as difficult to win as the one against the invasives.