By Rob Peterson
Spraying in Sunset Lake to contain invasive plant species and algae will continue this summer if the existing special assessment district is renewed.
At its March meeting, the Schoolcraft Township board set a public hearing for 6 p.m. April 14 to renew the assessment district. If approved, each parcel that fronts the lake will pay $400 annually from 2020 through 2024 to pay for weed control.
Andy Tomaszewski of PLM Lake & Land Management explained that his company will likely apply six or seven treatments of spray throughout the summer. The primary target is starry stonewart, though they are also concerned about exotic weeds such as cabomba, milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed.
Starry stonewart creates a dense mat that disrupts the natural fish habitat, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Sunset Lake is a popular fishing spot with a boat launch at the south end of Sunset Lake Park.
The spray that they plan to apply “will not eliminate all plants,” according to Tomaszewski. “Typically, most of the native and naturally occurring species are unaffected by the spray.” It is also safe for people, he said; none of the treatments have more than a one-day swimming restriction.
Without the treatments, Sunset Lake would likely be overcome with these invasive plant species, as well as algae. “As a flowing system, the lake is prone to “bursts” of nutrients which fuel excessive (algae) blooms,” Tomaszewski said. “Sunset Lake tends to be a little more volatile compared to your typical inland lake.”
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