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Lake property owners ponder weed control


Invasive species expert to speak at Lapeer Ed-Tech Center on Oct. 27th



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October 14, 2009
LAPEER COUNTY — With invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasion milfoil beginning to infiltrate inland lakes, concerns are growing among the county's inland lake property owners.

To educate local residents about invasive species, weed control on inland lakes and related matters, the Lapeer County MSU Extension will host an Inland Lake Management presentation Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lapeer County Ed-Tech Center in Attica.

The guest speaker will be Donald Garling, PhD; a nationally-known expert in the field of aquaculture, aquatic plant control, ponds and fisheries management.

Garling's visit and advice will come none too soon for Patrice Avery, who along with her husband, owns a summer home on Elk Lake.

Avery has noted increased weed growth on the lake in recent years. Now she worries that non-indigenous weeds and invasive species, if left unchecked, could hinder normal boating and fishing activities and even affect property values on Lapeer County lakes.

"We don't want to be alarmist about this," she says, "but we need to be educated and learn how to get a handle on managing the situation."

From what she has learned thus far, Avery believes management of invasive species is the best, and possibly only option.

"This is a problem that's probably been around for 20 years — but it's getting worse," she says. "We're hearing that you can control it, but you can never completely get rid of it. We used to manually pull the weeds out, but any breakage just causes more weeds to grow."

There are options, says Avery, but they are both costly and less-than-undesirable to lake property owners.

"You can plant native weevil for biological control," she says, "but it's expensive. It requires two treatments a year at a cost of $30,000.

"It seems the only feasible route is chemicals, using a contact herbicide," Avery continues. "At this point, we're dealing with fear and denial. We need to be better informed. We're hoping Dr. Garling can suggest the best resolution to the problem."

For more information about the free workshop, call the Lapeer MSUE office at 810-667-0341.

Editor's note: Exotic species have threatened the Great Lakes ever since Europeans settled in the region. Since the 1800s, more than 140 exotic aquatic organisms of all types - including plants, fish, algae and mollusks - have become established in the Great Lakes. As human activity has increased in the Great Lakes watershed, the rate of introduction of exotic species has increased. More than one-third of the organisms have been introduced in the past 30 years, a surge coinciding with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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