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Cougars poached; DNA tests done 

 The cougar shown was poached in Schoolcraft County in 2013. This is one of two male cougars the Michigan Department of Natural Resources sampled tissue from for genetic analysis. Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The cougar shown was poached in Schoolcraft County in 2013. This is one of two male cougars the Michigan Department of Natural Resources sampled tissue from for genetic analysis. Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Genetic testing on tissue samples from two cougars poached in the Upper Peninsula shows the two animals likely came from a population found generally in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.

“This genetic research lines up with what we’ve presumed previously, that cougars found in the Upper Peninsula are males dispersing from this population east of the Rocky Mountains,” said Kevin Swanson, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife management specialist with the agency’s Bear and Wolf Program. “These males dispersed from the main population are looking to establish new territories.”

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed 35 cougar reports in the Upper Peninsula, but so far there remains no conclusive evidence of a breeding population. No reports have been confirmed from Lower Michigan.

Cougars are an endangered species in Michigan protected by law.

The U.P. cougar confirmations were derived from trail camera video, photographs, tracks, scat or in the case of the two males poached, carcasses.

On Feb. 1, a cougar, or mountain lion, was found dead in Dickinson County, about 4 miles north of Iron Mountain.

Conservation officers investigating the incident said the animal, which a medical examination determined had been in a snare, had been dumped near the intersection of Johnson Road and County Road 607 in Breitung Township.

On April 18, researchers at the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation in Missoula, Montana received a tissue sample collected Feb. 1 from the dead cougar.

The sample had been sent to the center for genetic evaluation by DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell in Marquette.

Researchers had previously received another cougar tissue sample from Roell on Aug. 28, 2015, which had been collected Nov. 20, 2013, after the poaching of a cougar in Schoolcraft County.

During the 2013 muzzle-loader deer hunting season, conservation officers received a tip that a cougar had been killed at a hunting camp near Seney.

Investigation revealed the animal was shot and wounded with a rifle when it entered a field near the camp. The following day, the cougar was tracked down and killed by a man developed later as a suspect.

Three men from Bay City were arrested and convicted for poaching the cougar. The men served jail time, paid several thousand dollars in fines, costs and restitution, and lost hunting privileges for several years.

The genetic results from analysis of the two cougar samples were reported recently to the DNR by the center.

Researchers analyzed the DNA from the two samples using mitochondrial DNA, which traces mother-line ancestry. A haplotype is a group of genes within an organism inherited together from a single parent.

Kristine Pilgrim, genomic laboratory’s supervisor, said the two cougars had a haplotype “M,” which is the most common North American haplotype.

Researchers investigated the potential population of origin for the two cougars using a database which includes samples from cougar populations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Florida.

“Preliminary substructure analysis shows that these animals are most closely related to individuals from the region of the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota and northwest Nebraska,” Pilgrim said.

Using the genic information from the tissue samples, matched against results from other cougars in the center’s database, probabilities are calculated for the animal’s origin.

The tissue sample from the cougar from Schoolcraft County showed a probability of 74.1 percent to have come from the Wyoming-South Dakota-Nebraska population, while the Dickinson County cougar’s probability was 99.8 percent.

Researchers caution the probability does not necessarily mean the cougars are directly from that location, because there may be other populations that have not been sampled and included in the database.

“This research adds a couple more pieces to the puzzle, helping us to learn more about the cougars found in the Upper Peninsula,” Swanson said. “We still have not found the presence of any females or cubs, which would indicate a breeding population. This analysis also adds information to the center’s data set.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cougars were once the most widely-distributed land animal in the Western Hemisphere, but have been eliminated from about two-thirds of their historic range.

At one time, cougars lived in every eastern state in a variety of habitats including coastal marshes, mountains and forests. They were native to Michigan, but were trapped and hunted from the state around the turn of the 20th Century.

Thirteen western states allow cougar hunting and the North American cougar is listed there as a game species.

The DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline (1-800-292-7800) offers money to tipsters. Information may be provided anonymously.

To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cougars.

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Fishing Tip: Go “hunting” for fish this fall


Autumn can be one of the best times of year to seek out your favorite fish species for a day of fun angling.

Several species to target this October and November include walleye, perch and trout.

Walleye are thought to be in their best condition in the fall, and can often be found in the river-mouth areas of larger, inland lakes.

They’re gathering there to take advantage of baitfish that like to hang out as the weather cools off.

Set your sights on 10 to 12 feet deep to find these big old guys.

Perch will also populate around those same river-mouths, but these fish will likely be much closer to the river than walleyes. Check out depths as shallow as four feet to find them.

Trout will be available in those larger lakes as well during this time period, and can be found in the same areas as the walleye and perch.

Try your luck at some great angling this fall. For more information on the numerous opportunities to fish in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/fishing.

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Fish and cooler fall overturn

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Chilly fall air settles upon lakes and cools surface water. As water cools, it becomes denser and the heavier water sinks. Water is unique in that after reaching 39 degrees F its molecules begin to expand again making them lighter. This is extremely important for wildlife survival for lake nature niches.

Water molecules can hold the greatest quantity of oxygen at 39 degrees F.

The weight of water molecules and its ability to hold oxygen is a life and death process for fish and other aquatic organisms. During warmer months, the sun warms the upper lake. Warm water allows fish to become more active and their oxygen consumption increases. Warm water with less oxygen passing over gills might cause fish to suffer from lack of oxygen.

Fortunately, algae and other aquatic plants replenish oxygen during the day and this aids fish survival. At night the plants consume oxygen and over abundant vegetation might deplete oxygen during the night killing fish or other gill feeding organisms.

In the depths of lakes below the sun lighted portion, water remains cold but oxygen becomes depleted during the summer months. Colder water at depths does not mix with the upper warm water and in effect two lakes are created in one. Deep-water oxygen gets consumed by bacteria and other organisms.

Fish find it necessary to move to the upper warm lake layer. Variation in oxygen content in the upper layer allows fish to move, creating interesting challenges for people trying to find them. The warmer upper lake is called epilimnion and the lower colder lake is called hypolimnion. Epi for above lake, and hypo for below lake. The dividing point between upper and lower lake is known as a thermocline, separating a lake into two bodies of water that do not mix easily during warmer months.

Fish can cool their bodies by entering the hypolimnion but might suffocate if oxygen has been depleted too much during the summer. They can swim high in the epilimnion but their warmed bodies might require more oxygen than is available because warm water holds less oxygen. Some fish can survive in lower oxygenated water and others like trout need more oxygen available.

By hanging out near the thermocline, they can cool their bodies and reduce oxygen needs.

In fall, cold air settling on the lake surfaces cools water that captures the greatest amount of oxygen before sinking to the bottom of the lake. The sinking water destroys the thermocline that separated upper and lower lake bodies during summer. It replenishes oxygen to a maximum level throughout the lake. It also creates a phenomenon known as lake overturn.

If you are fortunate, you might get to see a lake full of churned up gunk when overturn occurs. Lakes with mucky bottoms show this best. Visit Chrishaven Lake at the Howard Christensen Nature Center on Red Pine Drive between Kent City and Cedar Springs to witness the event. Invite friends to come promptly to see it because the murky water will only last a few days. Nutrients will have been stirred, spread throughout the lake and will provide floating plant nutrient needs. While visiting HCNC, visit the interpretive center to purchase a membership and to learn about the activities for all family members.

Growth of plants and animals will be slowed during winter months but life persists in wait of the next year’s warm season. When spring arrives, a spring overturn will occur after ice out and before a new epilimnion and hypolimnion are separated by a thermocline. Fish go where they want but it is determined in part by food availability, temperature, water oxygen content, and sheltered hiding locations.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Michigan rattlesnake listed as threatened 

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it has listed the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, stating that nearly 40 percent of the snake’s historical populations are now extirpated (no longer exist) and an additional 15 percent is of uncertain status.

The final rule listing the eastern massasauga appears in the Sept. 30, 2016, Federal Register and has an effective date of Oct. 31, 2016.

Under the Endangered Species Act, threatened species are considered plants and animals that may become endangered in the foreseeable future. Across the eastern massasauga rattlesnake’s range, nearly 40 percent of the species’ population has declined. Habitat loss is considered the primary threat driving the snakes’ decline; however, as their numbers decline, other threats such as direct mortality or collection play a more significant role.

Eastern massasaugas currently are found in scattered locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. In Michigan, the eastern massasauga (the state’s only venomous snake) currently is state-listed as a species of special concern, but will be protected under Michigan’s Endangered Species Protection law once it is federally listed.

Most massasaugas are located within the southern portion of Michigan, with none occurring on the Upper Peninsula’s mainland.

“Conservation of this rare snake is critical because it plays an important role as a predator of small mammals,” said Dan Kennedy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources endangered species specialist. “The DNR is currently working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other partners to develop a reasonable approach to conserve this rare snake in Michigan.”

These snakes live in wet prairies, marshes and low-lying areas along rivers and lakes, and may also live in uplands during part of the year. They often hibernate in crayfish burrows, but they also may be found under logs and tree roots or in small mammal burrows.

Those who live in areas with massasaugas can take steps to keep the snakes away from their yard, such as keeping their grass cut short and removing structures like leaf and brush piles, dead logs and stacks of firewood that snakes or their prey (primarily small rodents) might use.

Kennedy emphasized that “human safety comes first, and the federal Endangered Species Act allows anyone to take action to protect yourself or others if you feel threatened.”

The massasauga is a small snake with a thick body, heart-shaped head and vertical pupils. The average length of an adult is about 2 feet. The snake’s tail has several dark brown rings and is tipped by gray-yellow rattles. They eat small rodents such as mice and voles, and will sometimes eat frogs and other snakes. They are docile, secretive snakes that will try to escape rather than defend themselves or fight. For more information on this snake and many others, see the “60-Second Snakes” video series on the DNR’s YouTube channel atwww.youtube.com/michigandnr.

For more information about the eastern massasauga and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule to list the snake under the Endangered Species Act, visitwww.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/reptiles/eama.

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Flames in the tree tops

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Flames are in the tree tops and red reflections are on the clouds. It is fall with color beginning to abound. Red maples are among the first to redden. Tree top leaves are exposed to greater temperature extremes and are among the first to show color. Red maples in swamps begin color change in August. Life there is more difficult but the red maples seem to survive. Those experience a shorter growing season than those in upland but manage to live.

In the upland forest surrounded by many other trees, temperature is more stable in the lower canopy. A multitude of insects find refuge in the more protected thicket of leaves and branches as they continue their work late into fall. Trees are busy moving sugar and nutrients from leaves to roots for winter storage. Birds and predatory insects glean insects as the last days of the season approach.

All species are in preparation for a long winter’s hiatus. Some insects will overwinter as hibernating adults, pupae, larvae, or eggs. Each species has its own unique nature niche adaptations to survive the cold season. Many birds will migrate south or in the case of many waterfowl they will migrate east to the Atlantic Coast. Others will stay for the winter. Birds like Black-capped Chickadees that were here all summer might shift southward and be replaced by some from northern Michigan to spend the next many months in our yards.

Mammals will vary in how they respond to shortening days, longer nights, and colder weather. The woodchucks will hibernate, chipmunks will spend long periods in their burrows with a large food cache and only make an occasional appearance above ground during warm spells. Squirrels will stay active smelling locations where they stashed morsels of food for harsh season recovery.

Plants unable to move have their own methods to help them survive to spring. Some will overwinter as seeds and the rest of the plant will die. Some die back to the ground and will sprout new growth from underground when conditions are suitable.

The woody plants must have a way to keep the above ground stems alive through the harsh conditions. The evergreens drain much of the fluid from needles but will be able to continue photosynthesis late into fall provided tissue temperatures are above 40 F and they will be able to become active earlier in spring than deciduous plants.

The deciduous plants like the red maple are completing activity in late September and October. Now is the time we take pleasure in the demise of this year’s leaves as they become red in their final days of life. As the sun was nearing sunset and peaked through breaks in the clouds, it shined its spotlight on tree tops making them burst flame red above green leaves below. Cloud bottoms shined red and orange glowed, making the evening a pleasure to spend outside. Life will appear to drain from trees as leaves fall leaving a dead appearing skeleton but spring will demonstrate a resurgence to life.

Soon other trees in fall will change to yellow, brown, red, and mixtures of color. A spectacular few weeks of change will progress in a manner determined by adaptations suitable for each species survival. Pay attention to which trees change first and the species sequence as each prepares for winter. Notice those struggling to live. We had a Black Cherry that became red weeks earlier than other cherries for a few years and died. Its skeleton stood at the edge of the backyard where birds found a wonderful perching location for about 25 years. Last year it finally blew down. Birds found a new viewing perch next to it in an ash tree that was killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. Life and death provide a dynamic of constant change in our yards.

The seasonal flame of color reoccurs annually around us. Do not let it pass without notice.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Fourth annual ladies’ guided pheasant hunt 


Oct. 23 in Belding

The Department of Natural Resources, along with Pine Hill Kennels and Sportsman’s Club and the Grand Valley chapter of Pheasants Forever, will offer a guided ladies’ pheasant hunt Sunday, Oct. 23, at 3329 Johnson Road in Belding, Michigan.

Beginners are welcome. Space is limited to 12 ladies, 18 years of age or older, and preregistration is required. Please call Scott Brosier at 616-874-8459 to reserve a spot.

The cost for the day is $45 per person. Firearms are available for beginners, if needed. All participants will go home with memories and a special gift.

Registration and coffee begins at 9 a.m. The day’s events will include warming up by shooting clay pigeons on the skeet range, hunting with a guide for three pheasants, learning to clean the birds, and enjoying a gourmet lunch.

“The hunt was such a success last year and all the ladies had a great time. Some had never shot a gun before, and were shooting birds out of the sky by late morning,” said Donna Jones, wildlife technician at Flat River State Game Area. “We look forward to making this experience available again to ladies who want to try out pheasant hunting.”

Established in 1975, Pine Hill Sportsman’s Club offers its members some of the finest upland bird hunting anywhere, on four farms totaling over 600 acres. Pine Hill’s intensive land management program not only benefits the population of free-ranging upland birds, but also enhances habitat for deer, turkey and waterfowl.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have 140,000 members and more than 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, making it the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

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Tips for safe bowhunting


Michigan’s bowhunting season opens October 1, and Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are sharing tips for a safe bowhunting experience.

“Bowhunting is enjoyed by thousands of hunters every year in Michigan, and we want to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable hunting season,” said Sgt. Steve Orange, supervisor of the DNR’s hunter education program. “With the season upon us, every hunter should follow some common sense safety tips before heading to or being in the woods.”

The top safety tips for bowhunting include:

*Before you go out, inspect equipment, including your tree stand or other raised platform. If anything is worn, frayed, cracked or peeling, replace it or get it fixed.

*If using a compound bow or crossbow, make sure the cables and pulleys are in good working order.

*When sharpening broadheads, be careful and take your time.

*Practice tree-stand safety. The DNR recommends using a full-body safety harness to get into and out of your tree stand.

*If using a raised platform, always use a haul line to raise and lower your gear.

*Keep arrows in the quiver until you are ready to use them. A common injury is to stab or injure yourself or a hunting companion while carrying arrows in your hand or nocked on your bow.

*When heading out to the woods, hunt with a friend or family member or make sure you tell someone reliable where you are going and what time to expect you back. This information is valuable in helping conservation officers or sheriff’s deputies to find you if you are lost.

*Also, think about carrying a cell phone, compass, flashlight and other small safety items in when in the woods.

Other important reminders include:

*Obtain permission from landowners before hunting on their land or using their land to access public land.

*Never take a shot at a deer that is beyond the maximum effective range of your equipment and your shooting ability.

*If you are successful, field dress your deer and cool its meat immediately. Michigan’s unpredictable weather means October days are sometimes warm, and warm temperatures and can cause the meat to spoil quickly.

For more information about Michigan’s conservation officers, go to www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers. For more information about hunting in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/hunting.

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Small Sparks


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead Cultural Anthropologist

In the 1960’s when in college, I subscribed to American Museum of Natural History Magazine and first encountered Mead. The quote above has been a main stay and guide in my life. I frequently encounter small committed groups that effect change for the betterment of the community.

I remain active in many local, state, and national organizations and often wonder if my activities are too broad to be truly effective. Balance has always been a struggle but I work with small committed groups locally for success. Activities of others in the community accomplish wonderful feats beyond what I contribute.

My career as environmental education consultant for the Kent Intermediate School District’s 20 public school districts, private schools, charter schools plus being director at the Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC) kept me spread far, wide, and thin. Detractors thought education that integrates community social, environmental and economic sustainability lacked value and wanted HCNC closed and me gone.

Recently, I read about a small committed group of 25 people in a Michigan Audubon Chapter in the Oscoda area. They work with the US forest service, DNR, Chamber of Commerce, and schools. They affect community change to maintain a healthy environment and have a natural area that supports community health.

I have presented many programs in schools in the Oscoda, Mio, Roscommon, West Branch area and for Kirtland Community College as well as in other regions of Michigan. My contributions seem minor and I wonder if they effect positive change like that committed group’s or those in Cedar Springs and Rockford.

Then Margaret Mead comes to mind again with a quote: Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. She reminds us there is a place for each of our contributions. Each of us can offer greatness for our community and its environmental health if we receive a spark and the right bit of knowledge.

I see the obvious greats in our local community like Sue Harrison, Red Flannel Grand Marshal (and Librarian) Donna Clark, recently deceased Jack Clark, and school superintendent Laura VanDuyn. Recognize how each is building a better community for adults and children through unique positive efforts. I support and commend them for the challenges they face trying to meet everyone’s expectations despite detractors. My employment was to bring about energy conservation in schools, healthy farm sustainability, ecosystem health, improved water quality, student appreciation and excitement about the natural world and the list goes on but detractors opposed the efforts.

It all seemed so overwhelming but “unique” individuals saved the day. A fifth grader grew, acquired his Ph.D. in botany and works for the MI Natural Features Inventory. He was the keynote speaker at a statewide meeting of the Michigan Botanical Club and told the program organizer I was the reason he went into the profession. I did not know him and asked him how I was responsible for his career. He said his dad brought him to Ody Brook for a 5th grade school assignment and he was impressed with my insect research activities and collection. That was the spark that guided him. Until then he was unaware scientific natural history research like that existed.

Recently, I commended Denny Brooks from Midland for his Michigan efforts with Monarch Watch and how he guides people to help Monarch butterflies survive. He responded by telling me that a couple decades ago I presented a program in Jackson at the Dahlem Environmental Education Center and that was the spark that got him started with Monarchs. My efforts often seem superficial and ineffective but my role is unique and effective in its own way. Your role with children, grandkids, and neighbors is unique and will help community environmental health thrive in ways you might never know. Be the committed spark for natural history and encourage teachers to take their classes to HCNC to learn and discover.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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Kids find success in annual Youth Hunt


Last weekend, September 17-18, was the annual Youth Hunt here in Michigan. At least three area youth bagged a deer last weekend, all for the first time.

Hunter Hankiewicz

Hunter Hankiewicz

Spencer Township youth gets first deer

Ten-year-old Hunter Hankiewicz, of Spencer Township, pictured right, went hunting for the first time on September 17, in Mason County, and got his first buck. It was an 8-point with a 14-1/2 inch spread. Good job, Hunter!

Brothers both get first deer

Coty Youngs Jr.

Coty Youngs Jr.

Coty Youngs Jr., 10, of Ensley Township, went hunting with his dad, Coty Youngs Sr., on the first day of Youth Hunt, September 17, and got his first deer. It was a nice 8-point buck. He was hunting in the Hardy Dam area, on his Uncle Bill’s place, in Big Prairie Township.

Andrew Youngs

Andrew Youngs

Later that day, Coty’s younger brother, Andrew Youngs, 8, also shot his first deer at Uncle Bill’s place. The boys say thanks for a great place to hunt

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European frogbit detected in West Michigan lakes


Frogbit leaf: European frogbit leaves, shown here, are similar in shape, though much smaller than those of the water lily.

Frogbit leaf: European frogbit leaves, shown here, are similar in shape, though much smaller than those of the water lily.

Invasive species alert

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of European frogbit, a prohibited aquatic invasive plant, in Reeds and Fisk lakes in the city of East Grand Rapids. European frogbit was first verified in Michigan in 1996 along the Great Lakes waterways in southeastern Michigan and has since been found in areas along Lake Huron and the eastern Upper Peninsula. The detections on Reeds and Fisk lakes represent the westernmost known locations of this invasive plant in Michigan and the Midwest.

Frogbit colony: Dense colonies of European frogbit can develop quickly in shallow, slow-moving water.

Frogbit colony: Dense colonies of European frogbit can develop quickly in shallow, slow-moving water.

Staff from PLM Lake and Land Management Corporation initially identified the plant during a routine lake inspection and reported the finding through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN), triggering a notification to the DNR and the Department of Environmental Quality’s Aquatic Invasive Response Team. The team currently is assessing the risk level of the situation and working with partners in the community, including the city of East Grand Rapids, Kent Conservation District and the West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, to develop an action plan.

What is European frogbit?

A native of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, European frogbit is an aquatic plant with small (half-inch to 2.5 inch), heart-shaped leaves resembling miniature water lilies. Unlike similar aquatic plants, European frogbit does not anchor its roots in the lake or stream bed but remains free-floating. Three-petaled white flowers with yellow centers appear briefly sometime between mid-July and mid-August.

Why is it a problem?

The plant quickly forms dense colonies or mats in shallow, slow-moving waters. These thick mats prevent native plant growth, make movement difficult for ducks and large fish, and cause problems for boaters, anglers and swimmers.

European frogbit is spread by plant fragments or by turions—small, quarter-inch buds that break off the plant and overwinter in lake or stream beds. Plant parts easily can be transported to new water bodies on boat motors or trailers, fishing gear and other recreational equipment.

What can be done?      

“Detecting European frogbit in West Michigan is a call to action to all lake, stream and wetland users to clean, drain and dry boats and gear,” said Kevin Walters, an invasive species aquatic biologist with the DEQ. “Take the simple steps of removing all plants and debris from boats, trailers and gear and draining bilges and live wells before leaving a site. Allow boats and equipment to dry for at least five days before moving to another water body.”

Walters said that even waders, fishing nets and inner tubes can harbor invasive species and should be thoroughly dried in the sun or cleaned with a 2-percent bleach solution before being used at a different location.

What if I see European frogbit?

Anyone can help by reporting suspected European frogbit. The easiest way to report this harmful invasive plant is through the MISIN website, at www.misin.msu.edu or by downloading the MISIN app to a smartphone.

First, become familiar with identifying the plant. MISIN offers a short identification tutorial which helps distinguish between European frogbit and similar aquatic plants.

If you encounter European frogbit on the water, take some photos. These can be uploaded on the MISIN website or attached to a report via the MISIN app. Reports are directed through MISIN to DNR and DEQ aquatic biologists.

For more information on European frogbit and other invasive species, visit Michigan’s invasive species website at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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