Nuisance aquatic plant control with the select use of herbicides is a primary focus of the Spring Lake improvement program. Beginning in May and continuing throughout the summer, biologists conduct GPS-guided surveys of Spring Lake to identify areas requiring treatment. The treatments are conducted under a permit issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The permit lists herbicides approved for use, dose rates, and areas of the lake where treatments are allowed.
At the time of treatment, signs are posted along the shoreline of treated areas that list use restrictions that apply, if any. Generally, there are no fishing restrictions, a 24-hour swimming restriction, and in some situations a limited irrigation restriction. The irrigation restrictions do not apply to established lawns. The restrictions only apply to portions of the lake receiving treatment, not the entire lake.
The plant control program on Spring Lake is limited and designed to control invasive plants while preserving beneficial plants that are essential to a well-balanced fishery and a healthy lake. Maintaining a diversity of beneficial plants is as important as controlling nuisance and exotic species.
Q & A About the Spring Lake Aquatic Plant Control Program
Who oversees the plant control program?
Plant control activities are coordinated under the direction of the board’s environmental consultant, Progressive AE. Beginning in May and continuing through August, biologists from Progressive AE conduct GPS-guided surveys of the entire lake to identify problem areas, and detailed plant control maps are provided to our plant control contractor. Progressive then conducts follow-up surveys to evaluate contractor performance, and provides status reports to the board. Herbicide treatments are conducted by PLM Lake & Land Management Corp.
Why are there still plants in the lake following treatments?
A portion of the Spring Lake
aquatic plant survey map showing
numbered GPS waypoints.
Map provided by Progressive AE
Not all plants are treated. The goal of the program is to strike a balance by controlling invasive plant species and maintaining beneficial species. We do not want to remove all the plants in the lake. This would be bad for the fishery and cause a host of other problems, such as algae blooms.
What plants are targeted for control?
The Spring Lake plant control program focuses primarily on invasive, exotic species. An exotic species is one that is found outside of its natural range. Outside their natural range, exotic plants have no natural competitors or predators to help keep them in check. They can quickly outcompete native plants and gain dominance in the lake. Eurasian milfoil is the primary exotic species targeted for control in Spring Lake.
Are herbicide treatments safe?
The aquatic herbicides that are permitted by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) are registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. They also undergo toxicological review by EGLE. In Michigan, aquatic herbicide use requires a EGLE permit. The permit lists herbicides approved for use in the lake, respective dose rates, and shows specific areas in the lake where treatments are allowed. If herbicides are applied according to label instructions and permit requirements, they should pose no danger to public health and the environment.
Why didn’t my property get treated?
Treatments occur where the targeted invasive plants are found during the lake surveys. Not every property gets treated every time; your property may have plants, but if it doesn’t contain the targeted invasive plants, it’s not treated.
How will I know about use restrictions?
All lake residents will receive a written notice regarding pending treatments. The written notice will list all herbicides that may be used and use restrictions. At the time of treatment, state regulations require that areas within 100 feet of treatment areas be posted with a sign that lists specific herbicides applied and the associated use restrictions. If there is no sign posted along your property, it means your area was not treated and there are no use restrictions.
When is it safe to swim after a treatment?
All herbicides have a 24-hour swimming restriction that will be posted on signs along areas of the shore that have been treated. However, if you do not have a sign posted or the sign indicates that only algaecides were applied, there are no swimming restrictions.
When can I water my lawn following a treatment?
If you draw water from the lake for irrigation, be sure to read the sign posted along your shoreline at the time of treatment. Most irrigation restrictions do not apply to established lawns. However, it you water flowers or a garden, adhere to the irrigation restrictions posted on the sign.
2023 Treatments Maps