By Don Rush
During peak boating season between Memorial and Labor Day, the 460 acre Lakeville Lake in Addison Township has about 14,000 boats access the lake via the Department of Natural Resource boat launch facility. That equals at least 14,000 chances of invasive species being introduced to those waters.
Recently the Michigan Boats Clean Water program with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative granted two lake associations up to $3,000 to build awareness and education about invasive species and to also improve the lake’s water quality. “We filed for the grant in November of last year and were awarded it in March,” said Lakeville Lake property owner Joanne Zuzelski. “We were actually able to do it for less, $2,584.50 to be exact, so we saved the state some money. We have a public boat launch run by the DNR and we wanted to add some signage there and a waterless cleaning station there.”
A few weeks ago, volunteers from the lake community installed the signs and the cleaning station with the tools needed to clean boats before they get in the lake, she said.
The tools at the station are a plug wrench, which allows boaters to drain water from their boats; an aqua weed stick and grabber tool to pull weeds off of trailers and boats. “It’s just a way to make it easier on the boaters to do it there. Obviously it would be great if they would do it at home, but that doesn’t always happen and sometimes you miss somethings,” she said.
Also, with the grant volunteers planned three education events, two this past holiday weekend and another on Sept. 24 during a Bass fishing tournament.
“We’ll have volunteers there for a few hours to talk to boaters coming and going. Hopefully educate them on what we’ve done and to keep their eyes open for invasive species,” she said.
The three main invasive species that are in the lake are the Curly-leaf Pondweed, which has stems up to 10-feet long; the Starry Stonewort, a dark green plant like algae that can grow over 30 inches thick; and the Eurasian Watermilfoil.
“This is an on-going battle,” she said. “Invasive species are driving out some of the natural habitat for fish and other native species. With the launch there are power boats, fishing boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes – any of those can be carriers of invasive species. We want people to be more aware,” she said.