drone fall 2014

An overhead photo of the invader in waters in front of the County Park

The presence of Eurasian water milfoil and its hybrid (HEWM) has been confirmed in Clark Lake by DNA testing.  This fast spreading weed threatens to curtail recreational use of lake, destroy natural habitat for wildlife and negatively impact property values.  Efforts to thwart HEWM have gone into a high gear.  Throughout this fall, a committee has researched the problem and examined options for control of HEWM.  The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation funded a study both to research the extent of the infestation and to offer solutions.

The committee, now known as the Invasive Species Committee, has voted unanimously to launch a pilot program for spot treatment in 2015.  It has always been possible for land owners to treat weeds along their shorelines with proper permits. Through this path, the committee will work with residents to treat weeds in areas of high density that are within the riparian rights of the land owner.  (see note below about “riparian”)

Treating just some shorelines will leave much of the 20 acres of infestation untouched.  Some of these areas are along drop offs too far from shore for riparian rights to apply.  To get at areas like those, other lakes have formed special assessment districts (SAD).  Establishing a SAD involves a time consuming process, so it’s not possible for treatment of this kind to take place before spring of 2016.

The word “assessment” implies cost to property owners. Divided among residents on the lake, the yearly assessment would be modest, probably under $50 per property.  That of course is a minor expense compared to the known dramatic loss in property value that occurs when lakes become infested.  Some have compared an assessment like this to the ridding one’s lawn of weeds–except its one’s “water lawn” that needs attention to preserve the future of the lake.

Committee members are reaching out to other residents at the lake and inviting them to attend a public informational meeting.  Scroll down for more on this meeting.  Committee members are John Deming, Mike McKay, John Calhoun, Flip Reynolds, Bill Tuttle, Hugh Harris, Bill Leutz, Steve Harris, Greg Kerr, Ron & Beth June, Vic Marshall, Scott Robbins, Dr. Richard Moyer, and Rick Belcher.  The Committee is advised by attorney Kevin Thomson and Dr. Carley Kratz of the River Raisin Watershed Council.

Note regarding “riparian”.  In a public lake like Clark Lake, property owners can extend there property lines out into the lake to a point of convergence in an imaginary center of the lake.  In this area, the property owners have what is known as riparian rights.  In practical terms for weed treatment, it means property owners must give permission for this activity in their area with a limit extending out into the lake of  about 250 feet.  Beyond 250 feet the path of these lines begin forming a spider-like web, making it impossible to determine where owners rights are.  That’s why the 250 feet limitation ensures that one can be confident of one’s riparian rights.

flyer ps