The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department will oversee cleaning stations at boat and trailer launches, like this one at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston, for a pilot program to try to stop the spread of invasive aquatic plants.

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department will oversee cleaning stations at boat and trailer launches, like this one at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston, for a pilot program to try to stop the spread of invasive aquatic plants.

Photo provided by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department


Invasive and native plants get action from county commission

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published July 20, 2020

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Below the surface of lakes across Oakland County, another pandemic is brewing.

In late June, the county’s Board of Commissioners allocated $118,000 to fight invasive species in local waters. Titled “Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose,” the pilot program will aim to spot the spread of plants that are not native to Michigan lakes and could be damaging to other aquatic growth by installing mobile cleaning stations at two local boat launches, so visitors can clean the bottom of their boats and trailers before placing them into the water.

The cleaning stations will be solar powered and managed by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department for a two-year pilot program. Data collected from the units will inform usage habits and provide notifications as to when they need to be serviced.

“OCPR is excited to assist the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in deploying waterless cleaning systems … that will limit movement of aquatic invasive species,” Sarah Cook-Maylen, the Parks and Recreation Department’s natural resources coordinator, said in an email. “These stations will provide tools and educational materials to boaters to assist them in cleaning, draining and drying their recreational watercraft.”

Along with the “Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose” program, another initiative was OK’d by the board last month to boost native plant health. With an allocation of $32,000, the effort will promote the planting of fauna native to the region with known benefits to local insects, birds and other wildlife.

The funds will be used to make native plants available to Oakland County residents and organizations. A special committee on invasive species prevention will oversee the program, including reviewing purchasing bids and developing a distribution plan for the plants.

Commissioner Kristen Nelson, of Waterford, authored both resolutions to improve the county’s ecosystem.

“As we move past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is tremendous enthusiasm for outdoor sports recreation and enjoyment of Oakland County’s natural resources,” Nelson said in a press release. “These programs are all about giving residents and visitors the tools they need to preserve and protect our lakes and local ecology to keep Oakland County a wonderful place to live and play.”

For more information about these initiatives, visit oakgov.com.

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