by John Deming
Today, Saturday (5/28/16) it’s legal to catch a wider range of fish. And that brought fishermen from other locations to Clark Lake. At 10:30 am today, there were 20 trucks with trailers parked in the church parking lot near the west end boat launch.
So what does this mean to Clark Lake? What comes into our waters matters more than ever. There is a deepening concern about starry stonewort, an invasive algae, and what happens once it gets a foothold in a body of water. Efforts to control it in other lakes are not meeting with much success. Unlike hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM), starry stonewort stubbornly resists treatment.
The current program to rid Clark Lake of HEWM might not succeed with starry stonewort. To be sure, HEWM can create havoc. When not controlled, it can curtail boating, destroy wildlife habitat and hurt property values. Lakes overrun by starry stonewort find that the tried and true control eradication methods don’t work well.
Boat washing is currently being promoted in the region as a preventative measure. But starry stonewort escapes the most thorough of scrubbing. It hides on the bunks, the rails on a trailer that a boat sets on. The algae can become compressed, and survive for well over a week. Then it can spring to life into whatever body of water it goes into next. If someone brings a boat and trailer in from an infected lake, that could be starry stonewort’s invitation for a new home. Michigan has lots of infected lakes.
Boats that only come in and out of Clark Lake aren’t the problem.
Prevention is a matter of probability. Fewer boats from elsewhere improves chances of avoiding this threat at Clark Lake.
Note- John Deming is chairman of the Clark Lake Invasive Species Committee