Runyan Lake Inc.

The lake association for the entire community of Runyan Lake
located in Tyrone Township, Livingston County, Michigan.

 

 

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Invasive Species - Starry Stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa)

Starry Stonewort is a confirmed new addition to Runyan Lake as of 2011.  The cove area  by the boat ramp, and the shallows immediately outside of the cove saw aggressive growth during the late summer of 2011.  It is therefore believed this species entered Runyan Lake by use of the boat ramp.  Dense mats of this weed began to impede navigation to the boat ramp during the fall.  This should serve as an important reminder to clean your boats and trailers before they enter Runyan Lake to prevent introduction of additional invasive species.

Starry Stonewort resembles the native aquatic plant Chara. Starry Stonewort has tiny, star-shaped, tan-colored reproductive structures called "bulbils" that are firm to the touch when compared to its soft branches. The presence of bulbils is one way to distinguish between Starry Stonewort and Chara. Unlike Chara, which is generally considered to be a beneficial plant, Starry Stonewort has a tendency to colonize deeper water and can form dense mats several feet thick. Starry Stonewort can impede navigation and limit growth of more beneficial plants by choking out native species.  The dense mats also reduce or eliminate much of habitat used by bass and bluegill for spawning.

Compared to many other aquatic plants, Starry Stonewort may begin growing later in the season and persist longer, which is exactly what we have experienced near the boat ramp.  The really bad news is it is the most aggressive aquatic plant ever observed in Michigan and is able to out compete all other Michigan plant species, including all invasive species and current alien species such as watermilfoil, fanwort, and curly leaf pondweed.

Runyan Lake Inc. will likely begin treatment to minimize the presence of Starry Stonewort with chemicals as part of our aquatic weed control program in 2012.  

Resources

Starry Stonewort

A Decade of Starry Stonewort in Michigan: Observations and Operational Management Considerations 1999 to 2009
Douglas Pullman, Ph.D.

 

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Runyan Lake Inc.

PO Box 105

 Fenton, MI  48430-0105, USA

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