The 26 inland lakes within the Lakeshore play host to a number of freshwater plants. Both pond-lily and water-lily are commonly seen floating on the water surface in the shallow bays around the lakes. Fifteen different species of pondweeds can be found around the lakes and in the wetland areas. Cattails and bulrushes grow in the shallow waters and provide important nesting habitat for wetland birds and habitat areas for pond turtles and muskrats. Various manna and eel grasses, sedges, and rushes grow along the waters edge and help stabilize the beaches and toe slopes of steep banks. The endangered Michigan monkeyflower, a tiny aquatic plant with a beautiful yellow flower, is found at only a few remote sites along small seeps and springs and is carefully watched and protected. Efforts are underway to control invasive species such as purple loosestrife, non-native common reed (phragmites), Eurasian water-milfoil, and reed canarygrass before they can develop populations which replace the native freshwater plants.
Did You Know?
The Piping Plover is an endangered species that makes its home on the wide open beaches of Lakes Michigan and Superior. Several nesting pairs have made the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore their home. Their nesting areas have been marked so they will not be disturbed.