Officials say invasive water plant spreading across Michigan

Photo from Michigan DNR

Photo from Michigan DNR

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An invasive water plant called European frogbit is spreading across Michigan.

Its presence in the state was verified first in 1996 along Great Lakes shores in southeastern Michigan. It later was detected along Lake Huron and the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Now, the Department of Natural Resources says it has turned up in Reeds and Fisk lakes in East Grand Rapids. That’s the farthest west that the invader has been found in the Midwest.

Photo from Michigan DNR website

Photo from Michigan DNR website

European frogbit is a free-floating plant with heart-shaped leaves resembling miniature water lilies. It forms dense colonies that prevent native plants from growing and cause problems for fish, boaters, anglers and swimmers.

DNR biologist Kevin Walters says people can prevent its spread by thoroughly cleaning boats and fishing gear before moving them between waterways.

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