Lotus Land
Group works to restore protected plant to bay

By Larry DiVizio
Heritage Newspapers

A group of volunteers from Monroe County and Downriver make clay balls embedded with lotus seeds to be planted in Gibraltar Say at the south end of Grosse Ile. Last week, when volunteers were cleaning up Detroit River islands and shorelines, Making clay balls are volunteers Richard Micka (left), Grosse Ile resident Barbara Leeper, Trenton resident Frank LeFeuvre, Susan Huntley, Abby Myers and Joyce Auby. Huntley and Auby are with the Monroe Lotus Garden Club.

A group of adults were playing with clay and mud Saturday and they were not at all embarrassed about it. It was part of a project to extend the habitat of the protected American Lotus beds at the old seaplane pad at the Grosse Ile Nature Area.

"The American lotus is protected and they cannot he disturbed unless you have a permit to do so," said Bruce Jones a member of the Grosse Ile Nature and Land Conservancy that maintains the nature area.When in bloom, a large flower sits atop a stem projecting from a bowl-shaped leaf floating on the water.American lotus beds were common in the past in the vast wetlands that covered the nation. But with the demise of the wetlands, so followed the demise of the American Lotus.When the lotus bed was found in the shallows off' the seaplane pad, plans were made to expand the area where the plants grew.

The conservancy began looking for an organization that could help them spread the protected plant and they didn't have to look any further than the Monroe Lotus Garden Club. "They have the proper permits that allow them to relocate the plants and the expertise to do it," Jones said.

Moving lotus - plants involves more than pulling up the nut-like bulb and then dropping it in the water at another spot, he said. "First, the seed has to be cracked in order for it to germinate and take root," Jones said. "But the diving wild fowl seem to find the seed a delicacy so they have to he protected from being eaten. "This is where the adults playing in mud and clay come in. After the seeds are cracked, each is encased in clay along with a small rock to give it enough weight to reach the bottom of the bay off East River Road. "Then they can be dropped anywhere, are out of reach by the ducks, and at the bottom where they need to be," Jones said.

Only time will tell how well the project will work, but if some of the seeds take root nature can then get to work spreading the lotus bed."They are beautiful when the bloom and a joy to look at," Jones said. "It would he wonderful if the bay were able to support another lotus bed."

The Ile Camera, Friday, June 7, 2002

 

Bruce Jones of the conservancy took to the water and dropped the clay balls into the bay, hoping to create a new bed of the protected American lotus plants.

 

May 25, 2002 - Joyce Auby, unknown guest, Abby Myers, Jean Micka forming American Lotus seed balls, Grosse Ile Nature Area

 

Barbara Leeper, Susan Huntley, Joyce Auby, Unknown, Abby Myers, Richard Micka, Bruce Jones forming-American Lotus seed balls, Grosse Ile Nature Area - May 25, 2002

 

June 1, 2002 - Adam Bickel and Tim Martinelli, Grosse Ile Nature and Land Conservancy
Planting American Lotus seed balls in the West Bay of GibraltarBay, Grosse Ile, MI