By LACEE SHEPARD
Capital News Service
LANSING – A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) early warning program is preventing the invasive species frog bit from destroying native aquatic plants. “Essentially, frog bit is an invasive plant that’s come into Michigan from Canadian waterways,” said Holly Vaughn, a DNR wildlife outreach technician. “It’s roughly the size of a quarter or half dollar, it looks like a mini- water lily but forms really dense mats of leaves on the surface of the water and ends up choking out native species of plants.”
An invasive species is one that comes from another ecosystem and can harm native plants and animals There are more than 200 invasive plants and animals in Michigan that could have been controlled or prevented had the program started earlier, said Susan Tangora, invasive species coordinator for the DNR Wildlife Division. The Early Detection Rapid Response Program, which received $970,000 over three years from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is one of the most cost-efficient ways to prevent the spread of invasive species, Tangora said. To control them, they need to be caught quickly.