PLM’s Jeff Fischer raking weed samples to determine if they are native or invasive. He has a degree from MSU in fisheries and marine biology.

Professional Lake Management (PLM) is surveying the lake today (Friday 5/13) to locate the invasive weed, hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM).  Jeff Fischer from PLM is pulling samples of weeds to determine if they are native plants or the invasive species.  GPS is used to locate precisely the locations of the HEWM.  Only the invasive weeds will be treated.

HEWM spreads rapidly and creates huge problems.  Lakes that did not take action found that its presence severely curtailed recreational activity, destroyed wildlife habitat and hurt property values.

Treatment is scheduled for the week of May 16 and is planned to occur on Wednesday, weather permitting. PLM has already sent notice to the mailboxes of lakefront property owners.  On the day of treatment, they will also post signs.

Because a Special Assessment District (SAD) has been established, treatment of this weed will take place wherever it is found in the lake, typically in waters up to 20 feet deep.  For treatment to be effective, it must occur when the weeds are actively growing.

HEWM sampleThere may be a need for follow up spot treatments for stubborn patches or newly found growth, later in the season.  Those tentative dates are for the weeks of June 13, July 18, and August 18.

The notice specifies a number of different treatment product options.  According to PLM’s Steve Hanson, “Renovate has been most effective in treating HEWM in lakes like Clark Lake, and we expect that we will use it here.”  He also comments that the restrictions found in the notice apply only to areas within 100 feet of treatment zones.  Much of the HEWM in Clark Lake is found along drop-offs or out in the middle of the lake, not within 100 feet of the shoreline.  This map illustrates the expected HEWM for this season.  A more specific map will be posted as soon as the results of today’s survey are known.

Clark Lake Milfoil

Establishing the SAD was the culmination of a year-long drive by Clark Lake residents to stiffen the fight against this invasive weed.  When DNA testing confirmed its presence in the lake and a survey in fall 2014 revealed about 20 acres in the lake, these residents formed the Clark Lake Invasive Species committee. They quickly came face-to-face with an ugly truth of the threat EWM poses. The SAD will allow treatment wherever the weed is found in the lake. The SAD also supports the cost of the treatment through a $64.42 per year assessment to owners of each lakefront property.

Through private donations to the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, four areas of the lake were treated early last summer. PLM performed the treatment with a permit from the DEQ and with the consent of property owners. Because of the limitation of property owner rights, the areas treated stopped at 250 feet from shore. HEWM grows in waters of up to 20 feet deep, and there is a lots of it beyond 250 feet. The SAD addresses this limitation.

John Deming observing weed survey boat

Invasive Weed Committee Chairman John Deming on his dock observing the survey boat

The Clark Lake Invasive Species Committee consists of Clark Lake volunteers who researched the problem thoroughly and concluded the only way to deal with HEWM was by the application of approved herbicides. They then took the message door to door, held a public information hearing in December 2014, and last spring started a petition drive to create the SAD.  All along the way, progress was reported in detail on this website.  At the first public hearing in August 2015, committee chairman John Deming told the trustees and the audience about  community response.  “In taking the SAD concept to residents, the committee found overwhelming support–95% of lakefront property owners contacted by the committee signed the SAD petition.”  The committee delivered to the township petitions signed by 74% of the lakefront owners.  Columbia Township trustees passed the SAD resolution unanimously.

For a comprehensive review of the research, process and results, please click here or go to the Invasive Weeds tab on this website.