Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer
A pontoon in Crandell Lake has drawn some attention recently, as motorized boats, gas or electric, are normally not allowed on the lake.  On August 5, the Eaton Conservation District and Eaton County Parks will be performing a study of the lake and will be surveying the lake for invasive aquatic plants. Conservation workers and volunteers will be on the pontoon boat to determine what is growing under the water surface and if it should be there.
Crandell Park, a 432-acre Eaton County-owned property, is Eaton County Parks and Recreation’s newest property, located along M-50 just west of Stewart Road. The lake, a former gravel pit, measures almost 160 acres and has depths up to 35 feet. The park is still in the developmental stage but has had several upgrades recently, including a restroom, benches placed, and an improved parking area.
The researchers will go to several fixed GPS points on the lake to sample the plant life; these same points were surveyed in the past and will be used to make comparisons. The information obtained will help determine the health of the lake and reduces the probability of an exotic invasive species becoming a large, unmanageable population.
Some of the invasive plants they are hoping not to find are the Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), the curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), Starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa), and the European frogbit ((Hydrocharis morsusranae).
How do these invasive plants get into our local bodies of water? They might attach onto boats, trailers, motors, and fishing gear. Leftover live bait dumped into the lake might have the plant material with it. Plants can be tangled in fishing lines and cables, or even stuck on the soles of your waders. Your dog might have plant material trapped in the mud on its paws.
These plants can grow into dense mats at the surface and compete with the native plants for space and light. The mats create a poor habitat for juvenile and spawning fish and can destroy a lake’s ecosystem. Heavy plant growth can tangle fishing lines, clogs boat props, and restrict other activities like swimming and paddling.
The Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch Program (EAPW) is part of the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). Early detection and rapid response are critical to prevent the invasion of plants that may damage the environment.
If you would like more information about the program contact Sue Spagnuoluo at the Eaton County Conservation District Office by calling 517-543-1512 x5, or by visiting their website at