Controlling Aquatic Invasives in Little Platte Lake
2020 Upate (presented during Annual Meeting)
Invasive Species Report Jerry Rupley reported very good news. In 2019 about 5 acres of Milfoil was found and treated. Restorative Lake Sciences (RLS) surveyed Little Platte again this week and found only 2 Milfoil plants in the lake. Treatment for Milfoil will not be needed this year. A small patch of Phragmites was still observed at the east end of the lake. A large area of Phragmites was treated last year by the Grand Traverse Conservation District using money from state grants. Jerry contacted the Conservation District and there is no grant money available this year. He is following up on a quote for treatment but it is unlikely that the small patch of Phragmites will be treated this year. Maps were shared showing the 2019 infestation of the Milfoil and Phragmites and the 2020 map showing the significant reduction of both.
2020 Eurasian Water Milfoil map (west side of lake)
2020 Phragmites map (east side of lake)
The flowering stalks shown in the header image of this page may look somewhat pretty, but the plant (Myriophyllum spicatum) can turn a lake into a quagmire of seaweed. At our association meeting in June 2017 we received confirmation that this species has invaded Little Platte Lake. Left unchecked the milfoil could make boating, fishing and all sorts of water recreation all but impossible in a lake as shallow as ours. In response the Board of LPLA acted quickly this past summer, appointing an Invasive Species Committee and hiring Restorative Lake Sciences, LLC to do a comprehensive assessment and recommendation. Based on that report the Board adopted a plan to begin treating the lake to clear Eurasian watermilfoil in 2018.
The good news is that your membership in and financial support of LPLA has made it possible to fund this early-stage assault against the 5.5-acre patch (less than 1% surface area) of Eurasian milfoil found in Little Platte Lake. Delays prevented the application of chemicals in 2018, but a survey in 2019 confirmed the need to proceed with our plan in 2019 (see themap showing the results of the June 2019 survey). In July of 2019 the herbicides were applied,and when Restorative Lake Sciences took another survey in October, their conclusion was that the Eurasian Watermilfoil "was effectively killed." The results of the October survey (as well as much information about our healthy native species) can be found in the2020 Annual Assessment of Aquatic Vegetation in Little Platte Lake.
The bad news is that fighting invasives will not be a one-time proposition. And with reduced financial support available from state and local governments, the cost of fighting aquatic invasives will be borne largely by LPLA members. According to the November 2017 newsletter from Michigan Lakes and Streams Association (now the Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations) ". . . lakefront property owners now ‘voluntarily’ spend in excess of 30 million dollars a year to protect their lakes from the ravages of exotic macrophyte species such as Eurasian water milfoil and Starry stonewort."
A lake full of flowering Eurasian milfoil and minimal open water.
There are ways other than financial to protect the lake (and your real estate investment). A first step is to become informed and to share knowledge about aquatic invasives. This is a hot topic for lake associations and conservation districts, and many resources are available, including these:
As a concerned citizen you can keep track of proposed legislation that could weaken or strengthen laws that protect the Great Lakes or inland lakes like Little Platte. Freshwater Future keeps track of pending legislation affecting the Great Lakes and makes it easy to send an email or make a phone call to civic leaders concerning such legislation. Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations is an invaluable resource with respect to legislation affecting inland lakes in Michigan.
Finally, as mentioned in the Action Plan (see links below), the initial cost of treating Little Platte Lake for this nasty, non-native weed will significantly tap the current LPLA budget. Outside funding to help with this project, both now and into the future, will be pursued. In the meantime please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to LPLA to help fight the invasives!