Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development Proposes Addition of Water Soldier to State's Prohibited Plant List

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For Immediate Release: December 17, 2014
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724 or holtonj@michigan.gov

Lansing – As part of Governor Rick Snyder’s commitment to preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species into the Great Lakes, water soldier was identified as one of the 16 “Least Wanted Species” aquatic invasive species at the 2013 meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors and Canadian Premiers. Prevention of new invasive species and stopping the spread of existing invasive species are considered vital for limiting the impacts on Michigan’s ecology, economy, and natural resources.

The Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development may soon add water soldier to the state’s list of prohibited aquatic plant species. The Commission will be reviewing an official order at its January 21 meeting.   

Michigan has a Prohibited and Restricted Species statute preventing the possession of listed invasive species. The list already includes most of the species on the “Least Wanted” list. One exception is a plant commonly known as water soldier, which has recently been found invading the Trent-Severn waterway in Ontario.

Water soldier is an invasive aquatic plant native to Europe and northwest Asia. This species forms dense mats of floating vegetation which can hinder recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming. The sharp serrated edges of water soldier leaves can cut swimmers and people who handle the plant. In addition, the dense floating mats can crowd out native vegetation and have potential to alter water chemistry which may have adverse effects on the environment. Since water soldier only occurs at one location in North America, prohibiting the sale of this plant will help assure it does not become established in Michigan.

The Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for adding plant and insect species to the official prohibited and restricted species list, in consultation with the Natural Resources Commission.

More information, visit the invasive species website at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.


Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/MIDeptofAgriculture
Follow us on Twitter: @MichDeptofAg
Subscribe to our Youtube Channel: youtube.com/MIAgriculture