Invasive species 'water lettuce' discovered in Macomb Township

Water lettuce
Posted at 10:19 AM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 10:19:36-04

(WXYZ) — An invasive species, water lettuce, has recently been discovered in Macomb Township.

According to a press release from Macomb County, the free-floating, aquatic invasive plant was located in the McBride Drain.

Water Lettuce is usually found in slow-moving water and disperses through water currents as it is free-floating. It creates thick mats that prevent growth of underwater vegetation, negatively impacting fish and other species.

Water lettuce is on Michigan’s invasive species watch list. The invasive species on the watch list have been identified as “posing an immediate or potential threat to Michigan’s economy, environment or human health.”

Macomb County said in a release that if left unchecked, aquatic invasive species cause cause an estimated $5.7 billion in damage in the Great Lakes region annually.

Citizens are encourages to remove any water lettuce plants from wild waters and secure them in a trash bag. The plants should not be composted. The findings can also be reported here:

“EGLE and partners such as CISMAs respond to several water lettuce reports each year in public waters around the state," said William Keiper, Aquatic Biologist Water Resources Division, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, in a press release. "Water lettuce can be legally sold, purchased and grown in Michigan for use in water gardens or aquaria; however due to the invasive nature and ability to quickly spread response efforts are initiated anytime the plant is reported in public waterways.”