Aquatic Plants Survey

Mullett Lake Partial Aquatic Plant Survey 2015

MAPS should act in a timely manner to control existing invasive species in the Lake, as well as prevent the introduction of other exotic species. Shoreline areas should be surveyed on a regular basis to document evidence of nutrient pollution, erosion, riparian vegetation, and other factors that potentially contribute to nuisance aquatic plant growth. Problem areas identified during surveys should be addressed to prevent or reduce nuisance aquatic plant growth.

Survey included Pigeon River Bay, Aloha State Park, Mullett Lake Marina, and Mullett Creek Bay Survey Sites

The following recommendations are presented based on the results of the 2015 survey:

1. Educate and inform lake users. Human activity in a multitude of forms typically has the greatest impact on a lake’s aquatic plant communities. Therefore, effectively managing a lake’s aquatic plants requires information and education outreach projects that target shoreline property owners, watershed residents, and all lake users. Residents can improve land management practices to reduce nutrient loading (to control excessive plant growth) by establishing naturally vegetated buffers along the shoreline, reducing or eliminating yard fertilizers, and properly maintaining septic systems. Lake associations can help prevent the introduction of non-native species, such as the nuisance algae starry stonewort that looms on the horizon, by posting signs and educating members and other lake users. Outreach activities should not be limited to dos and don’ts, but also include general information about aquatic plants and their importance to the lake ecosystem.

2. Share the results of this survey. The results of this study should be widely dispersed to get a maximum return on MAPS’ investment. Sharing the results with members, nonmember lake users, government officials, and others will inform the public about
problems occurring in the Lake and progress of MAPS’ efforts at aquatic plant and lake management. An informed public will be more supportive of the efforts to manage the Lake ecosystem and its aquatic plants. Furthermore, an informed public may result in behavioral changes that benefit aquatic plant management, such as reducing lake nutrient loads and preventing the introduction of additional non-native species.

3. Develop an aquatic plant management plan. MAPS should consider developing an
aquatic plant management plan to enhance lake management efforts over the long-term. The aquatic plant community is a vital component of the aquatic ecosystem, such that good aquatic plant management translates to good lake ecosystem management. MAPS has already taken an important step in aquatic plant management by sponsoring two aquatic plant surveys. There are a number of guides available to help develop such a plan, including Management of Aquatic Plants by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Aquatic Plant Management in Wisconsin by University of Wisconsin Extension, and A Citizen’s Manual for Developing Integrated Aquatic Vegetation Management Plans by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

4. Control invasive species. This survey documented aquatic invasive plant infestations in Pigeon River Bay, Aloha State Park, Mullett Lake Marina, and Mullett Creek Bay. Due to these plants’ history of outcompeting native vegetation and becoming a nuisance in other lakes, MAPS should implement control efforts as soon as possible. Early detection and rapid response are critical for effective control, while also economically efficient and inflicting relatively little collateral damage to native species. Known infestations should be revisited frequently to assess efforts and continue with treatment as necessary. Additionally, MAPS should regularly survey other lake areas for the presence of these aquatic invasive plants and implement control measures as necessary to prevent their spread. Various controls exist for each species documented.

5. Regularly survey the Lake for other priority invaders. Other aquatic invasive species documented in Michigan lakes and rivers include European frog bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa), and Carolina fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana). These species can be spread from lake to lake by transport on trailers and watercraft. Due to their proximity on other lakes, these species have high potential of infesting Mullett Lake. It is important that MAPS regularly survey the Lake for these  and other invasive species to facilitate early detection and rapid response efforts.

6. Monitor boat launches for aquatic invasive species. Volunteers from MAPS can help
prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species and educate lake users by monitoring boat launches. Volunteers can inform and educate lake users about the impacts of invasive species and encourage them to take the necessary steps to prevent their spread, such as cleaning boats and trailers. It is important that monitoring be carried out during busy weekends, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July when boat launches are used the most and the potential for invasive species introduction is at its greatest.

7. Preserve the Lake ecosystem and natural diversity. Mullett Lake contains a vibrant native aquatic plant population that may be considered a nuisance by many shoreline residents and other lake users. While pursuing nuisance plant management and control options, MAPS should strive to protect the diverse assemblage of plants present in the Lake, which are critical for sustaining a healthy fishery and maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem. In addition, a healthy community of diverse native plants makes it more difficult for invasive species to become established and proliferate.

8. Investigate potential nutrient pollution issues. Nutrient pollution from shoreline
properties can lead to excessive plant growth and should be controlled wherever and
whenever possible. MAPS can make positive steps toward controlling nutrient pollution by communicating and working with shoreline property owners. In particular, property owners around the Lake should be encouraged to properly maintain septic systems, replace old or failing septic systems, reduce or eliminate fertilizer use, compost and mulch far from the shoreline, and prevent stormwater from flowing directly into the Lake. MAPS is on the right track by funding the 2016/2017 shoreline survey of Mullett Lake. Shoreline surveys are an effective tool for locating sources of nutrient pollution. Information gathered from a shoreline survey can be used to work with lakeshore property owners to verify nutrient pollution, identify sources, and correct any problems. Shoreline surveys should be carried out once every 3-5 years to document conditions and address any problem areas.

9. Regularly survey the aquatic plants of Mullett Lake. To effectively manage the aquatic plant community of Mullett Lake, periodic aquatic plant surveys should be conducted. Future surveys will provide the necessary data for determining trends over time, evaluating successes or failures of aquatic plant management projects, and documenting the locations and spread of non-native aquatic plant species. Although dependent upon many different variables, surveying the aquatic plant community on a 5-10 year basis is generally sufficient.

mullett_lake_partial_aquatic_plant_survey_2015_summary (PDF to Download or Print)


2007-08 Survey conducted by the DNR, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and MAPS.


MullettLake_AquaticPlantSurvey_communities(PDF to Download/Print)