CAKE-CISMA completing survey of COL invasive species

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

CAKE-CISMA Strike Team leader Ed Derosha surveys a stand of invasive Purple Loosestrife on Intermediate Lake during a recent survey of the waterway to determine the amount of Purple Loosestrife and invasive Phragmites on the lake's shorelines. 

 

REGION – By the end of summer, the CAKE (Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska and Emmet counties) Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area – a cooperative effort between local conservation districts and other environmental entities – will complete a shoreline survey of invasive Phragmites and Purple Loosestrife in the Chain of Lakes.

The survey, which began early in the summer, will determine the density, exact location and amount of the two invasive species in the Chain, which comprises 14 lakes and connecting tributaries in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Kalkaska counties, according to CAKE Strike Team leader Ed Derosha.

Derosha is leading the invasive species eradication efforts with the help of field tech interns under the supervision of CAKE program coordinator Benjamin VanDyke.

The team, with the assistance of Intermediate Lake Association members, recently completed surveying Intermediate Lake and Hanley Lake in Antrim County, with interesting results.

"The good news was that we didn't find much in invasive phragmites," said ILA member Dale DeKraker. DeKraker is a retired former DEQ employee and year-round resident of Intermediate Lake, who volunteered his pontoon boat and navigation skills for the survey, which took two days to complete.

"And most of Intermediate Lake was fairly clean for Purple Loosestrife, although there was a lot of it on private riparian shorelines along the southwestern portion of the lake, and Hanley Lake was loaded with it," he added.

Known as an aggressive invader, like the better known invasive Phragmites, feral Purple Loosestrife readily takes hold on lake and river shorelines, and in wetlands pushes out native plants such as cattails, diminishing the area's value as fish and wildlife habitat and reducing diversity.

"And since 2014, when I did the first inventory of invasive species plants on the Chain of Lake for the Tip Of The Mitt Watershed Council, it's gotten a lot worse," said Derosha, noting that, unaware of the plant's potential, many riparian property owners actually encourage growth of the plant along their shorelines because of its attractive lilac-colored blooms in August.

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