Invasive plants causing problems for residents and businesses along Grand River

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- Most people who live along the river do it for the scenery, so imagine looking out your window and seeing the water covered by weeds.

People who live and work around the Grand River have been watching the Eurasian Milfoil slowly take over the water for a few years.

"Its just very green and slimy...its not something that you want to get in an enjoy," Barbara Stella said.

Eurasia Milfoil is not native to Michigan. The Michigan Environmental Council says it gets in our rivers and lakes when people don't clean their boats off after using them in other bodies of water. The slime on top grows because the plant is taking oxygen from the water. Experts say it can be dangerous.

"Its always good to stay out of the algae blooms, especially the ones that kind of look like green paint that could be toxic, you definitely want to stay away from those," Policy Director James Clift said.

Barbara Stella says she contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality two years ago about it and not much was done. So she tried again recently with no luck.

"They sent me a report. This year I tried to take it further and I called them again and they referred me to the Aquatic Nuisance Department and I didn't get the answers I wanted there either," Stella said.

Stella says they told her she could hire someone to take care of it if she wanted, but that didn't seem like enough. Captain of the Michigan Princess Christopher Chamberlain agreed, and says that the species is causing issues for his riverboat as well.

"People don't take it seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if this is ignored another season and the river becomes impassable for boat traffic.This is not just a singular problem, Its affecting me and a lot of people," Chamberlain said.

Capt. Chamberlain says he wasn't satisfied with the DEQ's answer, and said they need to step it up before it gets worse.

"The state or local governments haven't done anything about it and it kind of throws me off. At what point is it there responsibility to take care of a public waterway?" he said.

A spokesperson for the DEQ said the department monitors water quality around the state, but does not deal with aquatic plants-- even if it is an invasive species.

If area residents have questions regarding aquatic plant management activities they can contact the MDEQ, WRD Aquatic Nuisance Control program at 517-284-5593. For questions regarding physical harvesting of aquatic plants, residents can contact the MDEQ Lansing District Office at 517-284-6651. For questions regarding Aquatic Invasive Species you can contact the Michigan Aquatic Invasive Species Program at 517-243-4735.