The invader–Eurasian water milfoil and its hybrid–is capable of changing the ecology of Clark Lake to the detriment of not only wildlife habitat, but also recreational activities like boating, fishing, and swimming. There is another issue that hasn’t had a lot of play in the discussion and strikes at the pocketbook: property values. Kim Dagenais is a realtor who lists in Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties. He comments that property owners who sell at lakes “that have an uncontrollable weed problem get next to nothing for their property; only the value of the house.” That suggests that the premium prices that Clark Lake homes command could change dramatically if the invader is not thwarted.
Concern about the spread of an invasive weed in Clark Lake is a hot topic. DNA evidence confirms the presence of Eurasian water milfoil and its hybrid (HEWM). A study, funded by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, indicates that this invader covers at least 20-acres of Clark Lake waters. It can be easily spotted along shorelines where props have not lopped off tops. In other areas it lurks just below the surface in depths of up to 20 feet.
An area of dense concentration is at the east end’s County Park. Recently this area was photographed from the air. To view the video, please click this YouTube link. (The segment is over six minutes long, and you won’t need to view the entire segment to get the picture).
Compare a satellite photo on Google Earth from just over a year ago to a still from this YouTube video taken this fall. The photos cover the same approximate area at the east end. First the satellite photo:
Google Earth satellite view from April 2013
These photos generate a warning.
The Invasive Weed Committee continues to work on a strategy to control HEWM at Clark Lake.