MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — An invasive species has been detected along the Clinton River Spillway in Macomb County.
The county said water lettuce is a free-floating aquatic invasive plant on the state’s invasive species watch list.
Water lettuce creates thick mats that reduce oxygen levels, block sunlight, and prevent growth of submerged vegetation which have a negative effect on fish and other aquatic species. Water lettuce leaves are grayish-green and occur in a circular formation that ranges from 1.5 – 18 inches across. The leaves are spongy, deeply veined, and covered in tiny hairs. The freely hanging roots are feathery and can reach up to 20 inches long. Water lettuce propagates when horizontal stems (stolons) are broken from a parent plant and thus can also be distributed by water recreation, fishing equipment, and other activities that can cut the plant into pieces.