LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An invasive plant is spreading in Michigan waters, according to a warning from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The European frog-bit has been spotted in Saginaw Bay, Alpena and Chippewa County's Munuscong Bay, the DNR said in a statement last week. Until recently, the free-floating aquatic plant had been reported only in a few sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.
The DNR said it detected the invasive species through an "Early Detection Rapid Response ... pilot project" financed by a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.
European frog-bit was released accidentally into Canadian waters in the 1930s. It has spread across Ontario and the northeastern United States.
"It forms extremely dense vegetative mats that cover the available open water surface," the department's statement said. "Frog-bit shades out submerged native plants, reducing invertebrate and plant biodiversity; disrupts natural water flow, inhibits watercraft movement and may adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat."
It resembles a miniature water lily, with leaves about the size of a quarter or half dollar. It produces a small white flower, usually in June, and typically turns up in slow moving water 1 to 3 feet deep within cattail and bulrush stands.