Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, say an invasive species is migrating to inland bodies of water in Michigan.
The Spiny Waterflea is usually found in the open water of the Great Lakes but now it can be found infesting local streams and ponds.
Steven Pothoven (Pot-hoven) is a fishery biologist at NOAA.
He says that even though the invasion can’t be stopped, it’s not the end of inland waterways or the Great Lakes.
“I think they reflect the ecosystems in the Great Lakes that are really disrupted from invasive species. They may not cause the collapse of something, but they disrupt things and they make that ecosystem less stable than it would be if they weren’t in there.”
Pothoven says waterfleas won’t outright destroy a habitat, but they make it more difficult for smaller fish to survive and thrive.
He says waterfleas throw a monkey wrench into food webs by devouring zooplankton which is the main food source for small fish.
Pothoven says the waterflea was initially introduced to the Great Lakes in the mid ‘80s by boat ballast dumping. By the late ‘80s the small crustacean could be found in every Great Lake.
The DEQ is giving Michigan residents a chance to help protect their state’s inland streams and lakes.
Next week Micorps is hosting it’s 10th annual Clean Water Conference. The event will include free training for participants to become volunteer water quality monitors.
Bill Dimond is an aquatic biologist at the DEQ.
He says there’s no shortage of support for Michigan water quality.
“The most important thing to me is how much people care about water quality in Michigan. Clean water is beautiful, wonderful for recreation, and also it helps financially. Clean water is valuable. So what I take away from it most is how much the people care about the water.”
The event will also feature speeches from various environmentalists for patrons to attend.
The conference is a two-day event that will be held at the Ralph A. Macmullan Center in Higgins Lake. It’s scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 27th.
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