Posts tagged Aquatic Plant
The Best Offense is an Observant Defense: Aquatic Invasive Species

In lieu of the exciting results of the Exotic Aquatic Species Watch completed for the Cooperative Lake Monitoring Program in 2018, it is imperative to keep Gratiot Lake free of aquatic invasive species. The watch found no aquatic invasive plant species in Gratiot Lake! The best way to take on aquatic invasive species is to prevent them from colonizing in the first place.

 The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MiDNR) recently amended the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994) Part 413 with changes for boaters and anglers that take effect March 21, 2019. The changes are intended to better protect waterways from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.

  For more information, click the link below:

 https://www.michigan.gov/invasives/0,5664,7-324-68071_91899---,00.html?utm_source=govdelivery

Key Changes for Boaters:

              All of the following must be completed prior to transporting watercrafts over land:

  • Removing all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells.

  • Draining all water from any live wells and bilges.

  • Ensuring the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including plants.

Key Changes for Anglers:

  • A person shall not release baitfish in any waters of this state. A person who collects fish shall not sue the fish as bait or cut bait except in the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway to the body of water if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture the location of release.

  • A person, who catches fish other than baitfish in a lake, stream, Great Lake, or connecting waterway shall only release the fish in the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the body of water where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture and the location of release.

Below is a diagram (from the MiDNR) for how to correctly inspect and drain your watercraft:

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Limnologist, Erick Elgin, Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch training at Gratiot Lake

For about 18 years GLC has participated in Michigan Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). Since 2006 Dorothy Jamison has been taking readings of lake transparency on average 14 times a year. Every one to two years a water sample from the lake is sent to the state lab to detect the amount of phosphorus present. Overall at Gratiot no major changes have been noted in this monitoring data over the years.

In 2005 and 2006 botanist Janet Marr undertook a comprehensive survey of aquatic vegetation at the lake. The survey revealed that Gratiot Lake was home to good array of beneficial native aquatic plants. As a baseline that survey provides data for comparison in the future. Native aquatic plants provide food and habitat for a healthy community of animals in the lake, including a variety of fish, so the richness and variety of plant species found was a good health indicator for the lake. Janet even discovered one plant that is endangered in Michigan: Subularia aquatica, water awlwort. She didn’t find any aquatic exotic plant species, but recommended that the lake be monitored from time-to-time for any invasive plants before they become problematic.

In July, limnologist Erick Elgin, a water resource educator from Michigan State University Extension Service, came to Keweenaw County to lead an Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch (EAPW) training at Gratiot Lake. GLC recently joined this monitoring effort through the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program. CLMP provides this hands-on Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch training so that those interested in lake monitoring to protect their lake can learn how to do just that. This program targets five plant species that pose the biggest threat to Michigan waters: Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, hydrilla, European frog-bit, and starry stonewort.

The night before the training, Erick stopped by the GLC Members Meeting held in Eagle Harbor to give an overview of this monitoring program. EAPW is a yearly check-up for the potential entry into inland lakes of invasive aquatic plant species. Of this list, Eurasian watermilfoil is the most immediate threat to Keweenaw lakes.

You can view more info about EAPW on the MiCorps.net website. Go to the “Lake Monitoring” drop- down menu at the top of the page and click on “Lake Training.” Then click on “Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch.”

No invasive species were noted during the training or in sampling done afterwards.

After the EAPW training, Erick presented a lake issues Q&A program in Eagle Harbor. Most questions were about shoreline erosion, lake levels, dams, and floods, especially with regards to Lake Superior shoreline. Although no easy solutions for homeowners were presented, Erick provided the links below.

Pictured above are Erick Elgin (at right) and Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) Coordinator Sigrid Resh and members of the KISMA weed crew sampling aquatic vegetation with a “weed rake” at Gratiot Lake during the EAPW training.

Pictured above are Erick Elgin (at right) and Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) Coordinator Sigrid Resh and members of the KISMA weed crew sampling aquatic vegetation with a “weed rake” at Gratiot Lake during the EAPW training.

Sample for benthic flora species using the double headed rake tossing sampling method, aka the ‘weed rake"'.

Sample for benthic flora species using the double headed rake tossing sampling method, aka the ‘weed rake"'.