By Mike Kruzman /

The 2020 Update and Educational meeting was held for residents participating in the Huron River Chain of Lakes Improvement Project special assessment district.

The online meeting was conducted by Washtenaw County and Progressive AE, the engineering firm out of Grand Rapids that is helping provide insight to the project. The goal is the SAD is to greatly reduce the distribution and abundance of invasive plants on the chain, while promoting a diverse and balanced aquatic plant community.

The meeting began with residents being given a tour of the project’s website which hosts a bevy of resources. The lake management team breaks down plants and algae in the Chain of Lakes into 4 categories. Chara, naiad, and some pondweed is considered beneficial. Native milfoil, coontail, waterweed, and wild celery are neutral. Curly-leaf pondweed algae is considered a nuisance, and Eurasian water milfoil and starry stonewort have been identified as invasive species.

Aquatic scientist Paul Hausler gave a presentation to roughly 30 residents tuned in, explaining limnology, or the study of lakes, and what causes some to look clear blue and others a murky green. He gave detailed explanations of several different types of plant life, both beneficial and harmful, while also explaining the challenges in not further harming threatened and endangered species that are known or thought to be in the lakes. Hausler identified threatened or endangered species like the eastern sand darter, snuffbox mussel and cisco, and how they are affecting herbicide treatments to the lakes.

Some residents noted that there was greater mechanical harvesting done on the water this year. Hausler said that there was more sunlight and warm weather this year, which was ideal for native plant growth. In future years they would like to have the harvesting completed earlier. Another resident asked if homeowners could use herbicides on their property using permits that are already in place. Lauren Koloski, who runs the project’s website said, said absolutely not. Homeowners are not allowed to do this, and anyone who sees it happening, should contact the Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE).

A boat owner asked about boat pitting, or small holes forming in boats, occurring. He was informed that they suspect it is due to an electric current in the water causing it, and they are doing further investigations. The current SAD is scheduled to wrap up in summer of 2022, but organizers hope to begin working on a new one this January to avoid any gap time in treatment.

For more information on the project, visit