Invasive species – both animal and plant – pose a continual threat to the ecology of northwestern Michigan. Once these non-native entities arrive, they can reproduce and spread rapidly in areas where they have no natural predators, driving out beneficial native species and harming the environment, the economy, and even human health. After the intrusives have become established, eradication is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
One of the CLWA’s highest priorities is preventing the spread of aquatic invasives into the Crystal Lake watershed environment. Since these nuisances are commonly introduced into a new lake by hitchhiking on watercraft that have picked them up elsewhere in infested waters, the CLWA has promoted boat washing on Crystal Lake.
CLWA has also focused on regular monitoring of the watershed to identify potential threats at an early stage, followed by rapid action to control or eliminate the intrusive plant or animal before it becomes widespread. In the summer of 2008, as part of the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) the CLWA sampled, identified, and mapped aquatic plant species for comparison with previous studies. It launched a new comprehensive aquatic plant identification and mapping survey in the summer of 2016, again under the auspices of the CLMP. This survey was completed in the summer of 2018, with the assistance of aerial drone observation.
Eurasian watermilfoil was the only invasive aquatic nuisance plant detected during the survey. It is well established and extensive at the east end of the lake, in the area of the Beulah public boat launch. Smaller patches occur at the eastern parts of the north and south shores, again in the vicinity of public boat launches (for example, at the Mollineaux Road DNR launch and the Lobb road end). The CLWA is now developing a treatment and control plan to prevent this problem from becoming more severe. For the latest news about treatment plans, CLICK HERE.
Members of the public can help control the introduction and spread of invasive species in Crystal – by washing their boats and by watching for and reporting the appearance of any unfamiliar plants or animals in the water or on the shoreland. Below is a list of species that currently pose a particular threat to Crystal Lake, along with links to more information and how you can report any observations.
Sightings may also be reported to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following invasive plants and fish already exist in the Crystal Lake Watershed. Occurrences should be reported so that prompt control measures can be taken: