As part of its ongoing effort to combat invasive species in East Grand Rapids, the City, in conjunction with West Michigan Conservation Network, PLM Lake & Land Management and the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, has been actively managing the European frog-bit infestation found in Reeds and Fisk Lakes since 2016, with positive results and a goal of eradication from both lakes.
The invasive aquatic plant was first verified in Michigan in 1996 along Great Lakes waterways in the southeastern part of the state. The 2016 detections on Reeds and Fisk Lakes represent the westernmost known locations of this invasive plant in Michigan and the Midwest and one of only a few inland lake occurrences in Michigan.
Mats of European frog-bit can grow so thick that they impede boat traffic and movement of large fish and diving ducks. Large mats prevent nutrients and light from reaching submerged vegetation. When the mats die off in the fall, the resulting decrease in oxygen can cause fish and other organisms to die.
A native of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, European frog-bit is a free-floating aquatic plant with small (0.5-2.25 inch) heart-shaped leaves resembling miniature water lilies. Three-petaled white flowers with yellow centers may appear briefly sometime between mid-July and mid-August.
European frog-bit can form dense colonies or mats in slow-moving waters, which can prevent native plant growth and make movement difficult for waterfowl and large fish. Dense mats of European frog-bit also cause problems for boaters, anglers and swimmers. European frog-bit plants or seeds can inadvertently become attached to boats, trailers, water toys and other gear, and then be spread further within Reeds and Fisk Lakes, as well as to other bodies of water. Once European frog-bit becomes established, it can be difficult and time-consuming to control.
We ask property owners around Reeds and Fisk Lakes to be on the lookout for European frog-bit in the water near their property. While many parts of both lakes have been surveyed to detect where European frog-bit is currently located, it is important for us to know about new locations and track any spread.
If you think you have European frog-bit near your shoreline, please contact Mr. Bill Keiper, Environmental Quality Specialist, Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Water Resources Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the location and a photograph.
We also ask you NOT remove any European frog-bit on your own since the timing and methods for removal impact the effectiveness. Instead, we are asking property owners to simply focus on reporting new occurrences.
Additionally, please be sure to Clean, Drain, and Dry any boats, trailers, docks, and other gear that have been in Reeds or Fisk Lakes prior to use in another waterbody to help prevent the spread of European frog-bit.
Thank you for taking an active role in protecting your lake and helping to control European frog-bit. To learn more about European frog-bit and other aquatic invasive species in Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/invasives.