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Starry Stonewort Continues to Plague Michigan Inland Lakes

By September 15, 2011 No Comments

Starry  Stonewort, a highly aggressive and rapidly spreading invasive  macro algae, continues to infect Michigan inland lakes at an alarming rate. Introduced to the Great Lakes region via the ballast water of freighters navigating into the Great Lakes region from the St. Lawrence Seaway, Starry Stonewort (scientific name: Nitellopsis obtusa) was first observed in  Lake St. Clair  in 1986, and was detected in a Flint area inland lake in 2006.

The invasive macro algae, a native of the United Kingdom and Europe, is thought to have infected over two hundred Michigan inland lakes as of the summer of 2011.

Starry Stonewort is often confused with chara, a beneficial, native macro algae that occupies the near bottom shallow areas of many inland lakes.

Inland lakes plagued by Starry Stonewort rapidly lose diverse populations of native  floating, emergent and submerged aquatic plants as increasingly large areas of the lake are covered by light green aquatic “meadows” of  the invasive macro algae. Inland lakes infested with Starry Stonewort often develop very clear water by preventing the re-suspension of bottom sediments and depriving native phytoplankton (various species of native algae) of life sustaining nutrients.