Eurasian watermilfoil moves to Duck Lake

This article was originally published on Traverse City Record Eagle.

Township sets up special assessment district for invasive treatment cost


TRAVERSE CITY — Ed Dewey aims to prevent Duck Lake from turning into a web of weeds.

Dewey, president of the Green & Duck Lakes Association, reported the first account of invasive Eurasian watermilfoil on Duck Lake in May. He and other lakeside property owners identified the plant in July.

“If you let it go, it can take over your lake and it will choke out all of the native plants in your lake and will affect the fish growth,” Dewey said.

Eurasian watermilfoil was in 34 acres of Duck Lake last summer, covering mostly the lake’s south cove, Dewey said. It spreads in the winter, so more of the lake could be covered by now.

The plant grows in mats that clog lakes for boaters and swimmers. The plant uses oxygen in the water, which hurts habitat for fish and frogs, said Katie Grzesiak, invasive species network coordinator for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network.

The species spreads through fragments sometimes carried by people from one water body to another. Grzesiak recommended washing and drying waders, boats, fishing poles and other items before traveling between lakes.

“Like any other invasive plant it doesn’t have the natural enemies built into the ecosystem to keep it in check,” Grzesiak said. “It’s able to really take over lakes and ponds and fill them up with this seaweed.”

Eurasian watermilfoil is present in other inland lakes in the Grand Traverse region, Grzesiak said.

Lake association members lobbied Green Lake Township officials to help pay for a treatment to squelch the seaweed’s growth. Township trustees agreed in March to put nearly $20,000 toward Eurasian watermilfoil treatment this year. The lake association agreed to kick in $10,000, covering the cost of the 2016 treatment.

PLM Lake & Land Management Corporation was hired to do the work. The first treatment happened Thursday along Duck Lake’s southern cove.

But one treatment won’t weed out the species. Lake & Land Management will be back in July and August to survey and spot-treat the weeds. Dewey said treatment will have to continue forever.

“You can never totally eliminate Eurasian watermilfoil,” Dewey said. “You can control it and manage it so that it doesn’t become a problem for the lake, but if you walk away and forget about it, it will not go away. It’s something we’ll have to have treated every year.”

Township trustees agreed Monday to set up a special assessment district for Duck Lake residents to pay for treatment starting 2017, said township Clerk Judith Kramer.

Kramer said the more than 400 lakeside property owners will receive notices in the mail about public hearings about the district.

Related Posts