Areas of Wixom, Sanford Lakes to Be Treated for Vegetative Growth
(photo by Michael Percha)

Restoring Sanford and Wixom lakes to their previous levels is facing yet another challenge: tree growth.

When the lakes drained after the dam failures in 2020, it paved the way for vegetation to grow throughout the lake beds. Now the lakes are filled with cottownwoods, willows and aspen, according to the Four Lakes Task Force. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has recently approved aerial treatments for the wooded growth to control the vegetation. Treatments using low-altitude helicopter spray applications, which target woody plants, are scheduled for selected locations by Edenville Township and the Wixom Lake Improvement Board (WLIB), within Billings Township and Tobacco Township.

These treatments will occur on a relatively small number of dry lakebed acres to evaluate the effectiveness on the trees and brush which now display differences in growth height at different lakebed locations due to available moisture and fertility. The evaluations will allow better optimization of a more extensive treatment program to occur during early summer 2023.