The Michigan DNR was out looking for an invasive plant when they stumbled upon another that had never been found in Michigan before.

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This invasive plant could cause problems for Michigan waters.

Michigan DNR Looking For Parrot Feather Find Hydrilla Instead

Credit: Michigan DNR via Facebook
Credit: Michigan DNR via Facebook
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The Michigan DNR was out looking for Parrot Feather, an invasive species when they stumbled upon an invasive species that had never been spotted in Michigan before.

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They found hydrilla on two residential ponds in Berrien Springs.

What Is Hydrilla

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Hydrilla is a genus of aquatic plants that is usually treated as containing just one species, Hydrilla verticillata, though some botanists divide it into several species.

It is native to the cool and warm waters of  Asia, Africa, and Australia. Hydrilla was introduced into Florida water bodies in 1950-1951 and has since spread to many other states in the US.

It is considered one of the most difficult aquatic invasive species to control and eradicate in the United States.

What Does Hydrilla Look Like

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Hydrilla has pointed, bright-green leaves that are usually a little more than half-an-inch long and have serrated edges. Each ring of the stem generally has between four to eight leaves, and the root includes a “yellowish potato-like tuber.”

Negative Impacts From Hydrilla

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Hydrilla can have several negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems, some of them being:

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Displacement of native plants: Hydrilla can grow up to an inch a day, producing dense mats of vegetation that initially grow along the bottom of lakes and rivers. As they grow up to the water's surface, these mats can become several feet thick and shade out and displace native plants that provide food and shelter to native wildlife.

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Decreased dissolved oxygen: Hydrilla can decrease dissolved oxygen in the water, which can result in fish kills. Hydrilla, like all plants, gives off CO2 and uses oxygen during the night time, which can bring oxygen levels to dangerously low levels for fish.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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Interference with waterfowl feeding areas and fish spawning sites: Hydrilla can interfere with waterfowl feeding areas and fish spawning sites. Hydrilla mats can cover the spawning beds of fish, and the decrease in dissolved oxygen can affect the habitat of fish, clams, and turtles.

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Algae blooms: Hydrilla can cause algae blooms, leading to even more depleted oxygen levels.

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Decreased size and weight of sports fish: Hydrilla can decrease the size and weight of sports fish, including largemouth bass.

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Economic impacts: Hydrilla's dense mats of vegetation can interfere with boating, swimming, and fishing. Clogged waterways make it difficult (and impossible if left unmanaged) for boats to travel through.

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