European Frog-Bit is Invading our Lakes

Public Invited to Virtual Meeting to Learn About The Aquatic Invasive Species called ‘European Frog-Bit’ which is Threatening Lakes in Southwestern Oakland County 

Virtual Meeting December 10, 2020

A new aquatic invasive species, European frog-bit, is threatening Oakland County’s lakes and reservoirs. First discovered in Novi in 2018, survey efforts led by the Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) have continued to identify additional locations where frog-bit has been found. 

European frog-bit is a free-floating plant that looks like a miniature water lily and can quickly form dense mats in shallow, slow-moving waters. These mats can prevent native plant growth, make movement difficult for ducks and large fish, and impede recreation for boaters, anglers and swimmers. 

On Thursday, December 10, at 7:00 p.m., a virtual public meeting will discuss European frog-bit; and expanded surveying efforts beginning in 2021 – thanks to additional funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. We need your help to gather information on the current invasion of this species in southwestern Oakland County. Please be on the lookout and respond to our postcard requesting permission to survey your property.

A large mat of European frog-bit covers the surface of a pond in Oakland County. This species of plant can grow densely and impede boat and waterfowl movement. Photo credit – Emily Messick, Oakland County CISMA.

Oakland County CISMA has collaborated with Friends of the Rouge, Huron River Watershed Council, and Clinton River Watershed Council, to expand surveying in southwestern Oakland County. Surveying will be done in 2021-2022, with many property owners receiving a postcard to schedule a free visit to your property to conduct a survey for European frog-bit. Representatives from the watershed councils and several local municipalities will be present at the virtual meeting to answer any questions. Free registration is required.

People can help prevent the spread of frog-bit and other aquatic invaders by cleaning, draining, and drying their boat and gear whenever you leave a body of water. Seeds, buds, and plant fragments that are easily transported to new water bodies on boats and other recreational equipment spread European frog-bit.

“Detecting European frog-bit … is a call to action to all lake, stream and wetland users to clean, drain and dry boats and gear,” said Kevin Walters, an aquatic biologist with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. “Take the simple steps of removing all plants and debris from boats, trailers and gear and draining bilges and live wells before leaving a site.”

Illustration of a free-floating European frog-bit plant showing the small, heart-shaped leaves, white flower, and over-wintering bud. Illustration by Bruce Kerr.

People can also help by reporting suspected European frog-bit to Oakland County CISMA, and by allowing them to survey property if landowners believe there may be frog-bit there. “You can take action to stop the spread of invasive species by helping us determine the extent of frog-bit in southwestern Oakland County ponds and lakes,” said Erica Clites, Oakland County CISMA director. Landowners, in the southwestern Oakland County, should look for a postcard requesting to survey water bodies on their property for frog-bit. 

For more information on European frog-bit and other invasive species, visit Michigan’s invasive species website and for more information about the Oakland County CISMA visit their website.

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