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Michigan is trying to get the jump on another invasive plant

Aug 7, 2015

Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area is a tranquil haven just north of Bay City along the Saginaw Bay.   It’s also under siege.

A dense carpet of European Frogbit is spreading is this wetland pond at the Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Slowly, an invasive plant is filling its ponds and streams.

The European Frogbit appears harmless. Its small lily pad and delicate white flower was brought to North America as an ornamental pond plant. 

But the Frogbit, like many other non-native plants, would not be contained.

“A lot of native species that would normally grow in environments like this, the wetlands, are choked out by it,” says Erin Oakley, who studies invasive species. 

Volunteer Erin Oakley holds a Frogbit lily pad.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

She joined other volunteers in a recent effort to map Frogbit infestation along Saginaw Bay.

Frogbit is spreading. It can be found in Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington State, as well as Ontario. 

Drew YoungeDyke is with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.   He says the Frogbit is not just bad for plants.

“Obviously, it’s going to affect waterfowl habitat,” says YoungeDyke, “For (migratory birds) to be able to stay here for a little while they need these pockets of wetlands. If that’s all choked with European Frogbit…that’s just less habitat for them.” 

The state is paying contractors to remove some of the Frogbit. 

YoungeDyke says also it’s important for boaters to thoroughly clean their boats after passing through waterways with European Frogbit. 

“It’s new enough that we think we can get ahead it,” says YoungeDyke.