First Michigan detection of invasive hydrilla triggers response

First Michigan detection of invasive hydrilla triggers response

Michigan Invasive Species Program banner

News Release

Oct. 2, 2023
Contact: Bill Keiper, 517-342-4087, or Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

First Michigan detection of invasive hydrilla triggers response

Aquatic plant found in two West Michigan ponds

Hydrilla, considered one of the world’s most invasive aquatic plants, has been detected for the first time in Michigan. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy confirmed two small populations of the plant in adjacent private ponds on residential properties in Berrien Springs in Southwest Michigan.

A mass of invasive hydrilla, an aquatic plant, held just above the water's surface.The small patches of hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) were discovered during routine monitoring following treatment for another invasive plant, parrot feather, which was found in the pond in 2020. Both species are prohibited in Michigan, meaning it is unlawful to sell, possess or import them into the state, and both are on Michigan’s invasive species watch list due to their potential environmental threat.

Hydrilla has several ways of reproducing, allowing it to spread rapidly, outcompete native plants and quickly form dense single-species infestations. Root tubers, turions (buds) and even small plant fragments can develop into new plants, making it very easy for hydrilla to disperse through water or attach to ornamental plants sold for water gardens.

“It’s not clear how either plant made its way to this pond, but seeds or fragments of the invasive plants may have been attached to ornamental plants installed in past years,” said Bill Keiper, EGLE aquatic biologist. “Sediment core samples of the pond and genetic analysis of the plant material are planned to help determine how long the hydrilla has been here and where in the U.S. it might have originated.”

EGLE’s immediate response actions include surveying connected ponds, a receiving stream, and the St. Joseph River to ensure the full hydrilla population extent is known. Herbicide treatments are underway in the infested ponds, targeting hydrilla plants to prevent further tuber production this season. A response plan will focus on preventing the spread of hydrilla beyond its current location, with the long-term goal of eradication.

Why be concerned?

Hydrilla stems float at the water’s surface. Heavy infestations can block access to waterways. Hydrilla was introduced into Florida in the 1950s and has spread across the southeast. A separate strain was first detected in Delaware in 1976 and has since made its way through the Atlantic states and several Great Lakes states.

Hydrilla can thrive in both low- and high-quality waters and has been found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands, ponds and streams. Plants are generally rooted in sediment in water depths up to 25 feet and remain submerged, with long, leaved stems floating near the surface. Because it outcompetes native plants, it can quickly fill a lake or pond, choking off recreational access.

Though hydrilla can be treated with herbicide, it is difficult to eradicate because tubers and turions can persist in the sediment for years, and plants can reproduce from even small fragments.

You can help

Early detection of hydrilla provides a better opportunity for successful control and eradication. Michigan’s Invasive Species Program relies on reports from the public to help in early detection and response efforts.

Identify hydrilla

An illustration showing hydrilla's characteristics including serrated leaves, generally in whorls of five, surrounding long stems.Look for long, slender stems floating near the water surface. Check for these characteristics:

  • Pointed, bright green leaves about 5/8 inch long with small teeth on the edges.
  • Leaves growing around the stem, generally in whorls of five, but they can range from four to eight.
  • Tiny, floating white flowers visible in late summer to fall.
  • Small, white to yellowish, potato-like tubers attached to the roots.

Be aware of look-alikes

Note that hydrilla’s long stems may look like common native and invasive aquatic plants in Michigan. Differences are found in the number of leaves per whorl and the smooth versus serrated leaf edges.

  • Native elodea (Elodea canadensis and Elodea nuttalli) has three (rarely four) leaves per whorl.
  • Mare’s tail (Hippuris vulgaris) has six to 12 leaves per whorl.
  • Brazilian elodea (invasive) leaves are smooth, not toothed at the edges.

Report suspected hydrilla

Any suspicious aquatic plants should be reported as soon as possible to [email protected]. Include close-up photos and provide the location of the detection in your report.

More information on identifying and reporting invasive aquatic plants can be found at

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Natural Resources.

/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Hydrilla plants: Invasive hydrilla is considered one of the world’s most invasive aquatic plants. Photo courtesy of Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Hydrilla infestation: Hydrilla stems float at the water’s surface. Heavy infestations can block access to waterways. Photo courtesy of Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

Hydrilla graphic: Hydrilla is characterized by serrated leaves, generally in whorls of five, surrounding long stems. Illustration by Bruce Kerr./


DNR Logo 24 bit PNGDept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy logoMDARD Logo


Invasive Balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Invasive Balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Michigan Invasive Species Program banner

News Release

The following news release was issued earlier today by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

For immediate release: September 26, 2023
Program contact: Rob Miller 517-614-0454
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

Invasive balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Second detection of this pest in Michigan

Lansing, MI – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) verified the detection of invasive balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) at a residential property in Missaukee County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a sample taken from the site as positive for balsam woolly adelgid, making Missaukee the second county in Michigan to have a confirmed infestation.

The trunk of a large fir tree with areas of small, white tufts indicating the presence of invasive balsam woolly adelgid.“The infestation was found by a consulting forester who was working with the landowner. We don’t known how balsam woolly adelgid was introduced to this site, but early detection is a fundamental component of successful response efforts,” said Mike Philip, Director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “MDARD and its partner agencies have begun survey work to determine the extent of the infestation.”

This is the second detection of balsam woolly adelgid in Michigan. The pest was found near Rockford in Kent County in 2021. The site was treated, and survey efforts are ongoing to ensure successful eradication.

Balsam woolly adelgid is a tiny, sap-feeding insect that attacks true fir trees, including balsam, Fraser and concolor (white) fir. The pest is on Michigan’s Invasive Species Watch List because repeated attacks from the pest weaken trees, cause twig gouting, kill branches and, over the course of many years, cause trees to decline or die.

Symptoms of balsam woolly adelgid infestation include:

  • Tiny one-to-two-millimeter white woolly tufts on the lower trunk of the tree and possibly on large branches in the spring and summer.
  • Swelling and distortion of the twigs, commonly called “gout.”
  • Flagging – A branch or branches that turn brick-red and die.
  • Tree crowns that become narrow and misshapen with few needles.

Although not native to Michigan, Fraser and concolor fir trees are often planted on home landscapes. Balsam fir is native to the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula but also found throughout the state in residential and park settings.

“This invasive insect is a significant threat to the nearly 1.9 billion balsam fir trees populating Michigan’s forests,” said Philip. “And, as the third largest Christmas tree-growing state in the country, Michigan produces nearly 13.5 million fir trees each year, which are susceptible to balsam woolly adelgid.”

In 2014, MDARD implemented a balsam woolly adelgid quarantine regulating the movement of potentially infested nursery stock into Michigan from areas in North America with known infestations.

“MDARD relies on the public to help be our extra eyes in the landscape for invasive species; early detection and response are crucial to our efforts to protect the state’s natural resources,” added Philip. “Michiganders can also help prevent the spread of invasive species by leaving firewood at home and buying it where you burn it, cleaning gear and vehicles before hitting the road, and reporting suspected invasive species.”

If Michiganders suspect this invasive pest is damaging fir trees, they should take photos, note the location, and report it to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network or MDARD at [email protected] or call 800-292-3939. For more information on balsam woolly adelgid and other invasive species in Michigan, visit

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: The accompanying photo is available below for download. Suggested caption follows.

DNR Logo 24 bit PNGDept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy logoMDARD Logo
Free well water testing now available

Free well water testing now available

EGLE Main GovD banner

Sept. 5, 2023

EGLE Media Office, [email protected], 517-284-9278

Sara Pearson, Supervisor, Source Water Unit, [email protected], 517-420-3219

Free well water testing now available for Michigan residents

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is excited to announce a special program to help Michigan families know the quality of their well water. EGLE and local health departments (LHD) are working together to ensure that safe drinking water is a priority for Michigan families.

Last year, the Michigan Legislature appropriated $5 million to provide free well water testing for Michigan residents who rely on a household or private well for their drinking water. Water from private wells may sometimes not be safe to drink. EGLE and the LHDs want to help families know if their water is safe to drink, and this free well water testing will help get them that answer.

Most wells get checked when they are first built; however, EGLE and the LHDs know that water wells should be checked more frequently as water quality may change over time. This testing can determine if there have been any water quality changes to your well that could be harmful to those who drink and use that well water.

Many different substances may be found in well water that could be harmful and may cause illness, including bacteria; nitrates; and some metals, such as arsenic. Residents who test through this free program will have the assistance of the LHD to help determine next steps if test results show a problem with their well water quality.

If you have a private well and you want to know if your water is safe to drink, here is what you can do:

  • Talk to your LHD. They can tell you if there is anything special you need to know about the water in your area.
  • Go to the EGLE website gov/EGLEPrivateWells. Here, you can add your information to ask for a water test. You will also learn more about how to collect a water sample to send to the laboratory.
  • Don’t worry if you are not sure what the laboratory results mean – your LHD will help you understand the results and will guide you on next steps, if necessary.

This free testing program is your first step in knowing if the water you drink from your private well is safe, and steps to take if an issue is found.

To stay up to date on other EGLE news follow us at

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

EGLE Main GovD banner

Sept. 5, 2023

EGLE Media Office, [email protected], 517-284-9278

Marisa Faraldo, Environmental Quality Analyst, [email protected], 517-243-9631

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Governor Whitmer declares September 18-22 as SepticSmart Week

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed September 18-22, 2023, as SepticSmart Week. On Monday, Sept. 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in conjunction with federal, state, and local governments, and private sector partners – will kick off its eleventh annual SepticSmart Week to encourage homeowners and communities to properly care for and maintain their septic systems.

More than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household chemicals and other pollutants to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health, the environment, and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs.

Simple tips for homeowners:

  • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to their state or local health department’s recommendations. Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and protect public health.
  • Think at the Sink: What goes down the drain has a big impact on your septic system. Fats, grease, and solids can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode: A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and cat litter can damage a septic system.
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain: Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances. Too much water use at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products.
  • Shield Your Field: Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your septic drainfield.
  • Pump Your Tank: Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority.
  • Keep It Clean!: Contamination can occur when a septic system leaks due to improper maintenance. Be sure your drinking water is safe to drink by testing it regularly.

The EPA’s SepticSmart Program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments, and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents.

Please join the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in spreading the SepticSmart Week 2023 message that encourages homeowners and wastewater professionals to maintain septic systems to promote public health, water conservation, and economic wellbeing. Be part of the solution by visiting the EGLE SepticSmart Web site or the EPA SepticSmart Web site for an abundance of resources, videos, and information.

Webinar: Knowing Your Septic System – SepticSmart 2023

EGLE’s Onsite Wastewater Program is kicking off SepticSmart Week with a one-hour webinar, “Knowing Your Septic System – SepticSmart 2023,” on Sept. 18, which will be recorded. While this event is targeted to homeowners served by a septic system, all interested persons are welcome to attend.

Webinar attendees will learn about:

  • the basics of septic systems;
  • tools on how to locate a septic system, and
  • use, operation, and maintenance tips.

This webinar will provide participants with access to educational materials and a boost in their ability to manage their septic system. Mark your calendar and register today!

To stay up to date on other EGLE news and events follow us at

Invasive Balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Two more invasives to look for in Michigan

Michigan Invasive Species Program banner

News Release

Aug. 22, 2023
Contact: Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814; Susie Iott 517-420-0473; or Bill Keiper, 517-342-4087

Two more invasives to look for in Michigan

State’s watch list recently updated

Michigan’s invasive species watch list was recently updated to include two new species and remove another. Mountain pine beetle, a deadly threat to pine trees, and water-primrose, a fast-spreading aquatic plant, have been added to the watch list due to threats they pose to native ecosystems and industry. European frog-bit, originally listed in 2011, has been moved off the list of species of immediate concern and is now considered established in the state.

Mountain pine beetle

A black beetle on a a light pink blob of pine pitch on a pine tree trunk.Mountain pine beetle has been characterized as the most aggressive, persistent and destructive bark beetle in the western U.S. and Canada. Hot, dry summers and mild winters in these areas have led to the beetle’s unprecedented population growth and range expansion, moving it ever closer to Michigan.

Because it attacks most species of pine, the invasive beetle could have widespread effects in the state.

“White and red pines are primary species in our forest ecosystems, and jack pine serves as critical habitat for the Kirtand’s warbler,” said Susie Iott, invasive species program specialist with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “If mountain pine beetle were to become widely established in Michigan, it would cause severe losses across multiple industries, including timber products, plant nurseries and tourism.”

Because the beetle can be transported on infested pine logs, firewood and other similar commodities, MDARD issued an exterior mountain pine beetle quarantine in 2020 to regulate the movement of all firewood and any pine products with bark attached from areas of the western U.S. and Canada.


A hand holding a stalk with a five-petaled yellow flower and long, pointed leaves. A stem with rounded leaves is on the right.Water-primrose (Ludwigia species) is a group of very similar non-native plants, L. grandifolia, L. peploides and L. hexapetala, that are invasive in wetland ecosystems. Water-primrose is quick to establish and spread in dense mats within wetlands and shoreline areas, outcompeting native species and making boating and water access difficult.

Three known populations, two in the greater Detroit area and one in Ottawa County, indicate the species can survive and thrive in Michigan’s climate. Once established, water-primrose can be very difficult to remove, making early detection critical.

“Water-primrose is not a regulated species in Michigan. Though not common in trade, it was likely introduced through the landscape or water garden pathway,” said Bill Keiper, aquatic biologist with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “Several Ludwigia species are common in trade but are not invasive and look much different than water-primrose.”

European frog-bit

A map of Michigan with counties infested with European frog-bit shaded in greens and yellows.A recent review of European frog-bit, an invasive aquatic plant, determined that the plant no longer met watch list criteria due to its establishment in many areas of the state. European frog-bit still retains its prohibited status, making it unlawful to possess, introduce, import or sell in Michigan. State and local management efforts for European frog-bit will continue despite the status change.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program continues to participate in the European Frog-bit Collaborative, which aims to improve coordination among stakeholders, establish communication networks and build consensus on next steps for management and research. Significant investments continue to support efforts, largely led by local conservation groups, to reduce the invasive plant’s spread.

What is the watch list?

Michigan’s watch list identifies species that pose an immediate or potential threat to the economy, environment or human health. Watch list species have limited known distribution or have never been confirmed in the wild in the state. Michigan’s Invasive Species Program prioritizes watch list species and encourages the public to report potential sightings and take precautions to prevent establishment or limit their spread.

Several factors are considered in evaluating species for watch list status, including risk assessments, proximity of populations to Michigan, harmful characteristics and availability of control methods.

How you can help

The trunk of a pine tree dotted with over a dozen small, orange blobs of pine pitch.The public is encouraged to look for and report potential infestations of mountain pine beetle and water-primrose.

Since mountain pine beetles are tiny and live under bark, they often are detected by the presence of many popcorn-like lumps of pine pitch, called “pitch tubes” on pine tree trunks. Pitch tubes can be brown, pink or white and are created as the tree attempts to push out an entering beetle. Red frass, a fine sawdust generated by the beetle’s chewing, can be visible in bark crevices and around the base of an infested tree.

Invasive water-primrose can be found along the water’s edge or floating on the water. Plants grow upright to 2 feet in height and also spread horizontally. Look for reddish stems, willow-like or spatula-shaped, dark green leaves and a showy, yellow flower with five or six petals.

Michigan is home to several native plants related to invasive water-primrose, including seedbox, water-purslane, false loosestrife and globe-fruited loosestrife. These natives can be distinguished by their flowers, which have four or no true petals.


When reporting watch list species, include one or more photos of the suspected species or its symptoms and provide the location of the infestation.

To report mountain pine beetle, invasive water-primrose and other watch list species:

More information on identifying, reporting and preventing the introduction or spread of watch list species is available at

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: The accompanying photos are available for download. Caption information follows.

MPB: The tiny, invasive mountain pine beetle, seen here on a pitch tube, could be a threat to Michigan’s forests if it arrives. Photo courtesy of William M. Ciesla Forest Health Management International

Water-primrose: A five-petaled yellow flower and pointed leaves are characteristics of the invasive aquatic water-primrose species. Photo courtesy of Graves Lovell, Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources,

EFB map: Occurrences of invasive European frog-bit are now more widespread in lakeshore and inland counties in Michigan. Map courtesy of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.

Pitch tubes: A pine tree extrudes pitch in an attempt to block mountain pine beetles from entering its bark. Photo courtesy of Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

DNR Logo 24 bit PNGDept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy logoMDARD Logo
Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

EGLE Main GovD banner
Aug. 9, 2023
Jeff Johnston, EGLE Public Information Officer, [email protected], 517-231-9304

Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is pleased to announce the availability of grants that promote and support the cleanup and reuse of scrap tires in Michigan.

Scrap tires pose a fire risk and a human health risk as mosquito breeding grounds.  Through grants, scrap tires can be processed and used in paving products for roads, manufactured products, and energy production.

The Scrap Tire Cleanup Grant is available for property owners to clean up old or abandoned scrap tire piles. EGLE will give priority to collection sites where tires were accumulated prior to Jan. 1, 1991, as well as collection sites that pose an imminent threat to public health, safety, welfare, or the environment. Local units of government and nonprofit organizations are also eligible for funding for cleanup days and roadside cleanup grants.

Scrap Tire Market Development Grants are available to fund up to 50% of total eligible costs for projects that demonstrate new or increased uses of scrap tires in manufactured products or paving projects. EGLE will prioritize proposals based on the amount of scrap tire material being used in developing the project or product, demonstration of a new use of scrap tire material, and demonstration of a viable market for a proposed product.

To apply for a grant, visit the Scrap Tire Website and select the appropriate link under “Grant Information,” or contact us at [email protected].

EGLE will accept Scrap Tire Cleanup and Market Development Grant Applications with all supporting documentation received on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.