The growing problem of invasive species has determined Ottawa County Parks officials to organize an event to inform people about these pests and to clean their boats for free.
The event will be a two week long, and it will include many types of educational activities so that anglers will learn more about many types of invasive plants and fish. Plus they will find out how to prevent these species from spreading.
Invasive species are dangerous because they compete with the native ones, so they dominate them. The first step to preventing these invaders from spreading in these waters is that everyone must have a clean boat at all times.
According to Melanie Manion, Ottawa County natural resources management supervisor, this countermeasure represents the primary tool to maintain the waters hygiene.
The event, known as “Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz,” takes place at Grand Haven’s Riverside Park, today, and Sunday, July 3rd, starting from 8 a.m. The second part of the event will be organized next weekend from July 9th to 10th at 4 p.m.
Manion underlined that aquatic invasive species usually lead to a huge imbalance in the water ecosystem, threatening many species of native plants and fish. Plus, anglers and tourists will no longer be able to enjoy spending time in such an environment.
For example, zebra mussels and the seaweed known as Eurasian milfoil are two of the many invasive species that have already taken their toll on Michigan Lake. Officials hope that this event will play a crucial role in preventing the spread of these species throughout the country.
Ottawa County is one of the most famous touristic attractions, so people coming here in vacation might also bring with them a type of water plant that will damage the ecosystem.
But if people knew the importance of prevention, they would make sure that their boats would be clean before visiting those places.
Another invasive species of plant is the European frogbit, a type of plant which can be easily recognized by its kidney/heart-shaped leaves.
This plant usually becomes so thick on the surface that it can affect the boat traffic and endanger larger species of fish which will find it hard to swim in such water.
Experts will also teach participants about the parrot feather, one of the most dangerous invasive species. This plant can grow up to a foot above the surface of the water, and it represents the ideal environment for mosquito larvae. Worse, it competes with the native species of plants.