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Invasive plant found for first time in Michigan waters

Invasive hydrilla can spread easily and quickly in lakes, ponds, and streams.
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
Invasive hydrilla can spread easily and quickly in lakes, ponds, and streams.

EGLE is fighting one of the world’s most invasive aquatic plants found for the first time in the state last October in two West Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE, confirmed two small populations of hydrilla in two of three interconnected private ponds located on residential properties in Berrien Springs.

Hydrilla is prohibited in Michigan, making it unlawful to sell, possess or import it into the state, and is on the state’s invasive species watch list. The plant can quickly fill a body of water and choke off recreational access.

EGLE believes the plant hitchhiked into the ponds as fragments attached to ornamental pond plants previously planted there.

According to EGLE, the chain of ponds drains into a stream that flows five miles to the St. Joseph River. The ponds, streams, and river were all surveyed by EGLE for hydrilla, and the ponds were treated with herbicide to prevent further spread through last year.

EGLE’s long-term plan for stemming the spread of hydrilla will be the continued use of herbicide as well as completely dredging the two ponds later this summer. Dredging provides the highest likelihood of eradication in the shortest amount of time, while herbicide treatments alone can take 6 to 8 years for total eradication.

EGLE reminds boaters and anglers to clean, drain, and dry all watercraft, trailers, and gear to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

You can learn more online at Michigan.gov/Invasives

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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