When the invasive aquatic plant Eurasian watermilfoil was spotted in Staring Lake, the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District responded quickly to stop its spread throughout the lake. The first step was to map the locations of the plant. It turned out that they were mostly in small patches concentrated around the public boat launch. Working with James Johnson from Freshwater Scientific Services, watershed district staff and volunteers donned waders on October 2nd and hand-pulled plants, making sure to remove their roots. Care had to be taken, as even a small fragment of Eurasian watermilfoil can grow a new plant. The physical removal of plants was followed up with an herbicide treatment the following week, and the district worked with the Department of Natural Resources to obtain permits for both. Together, the district hopes that these methods will succeed in eradicating the invasive plant. Eurasian watermilfoil was accidentally brought to North America from Europe, and is most commonly spread by boats. It can form thick mats of vegetation both underwater and at the surface. These mats can interfere with boating, fishing, and swimming, and crowd out important native aquatic plants. “The watershed district will continue to monitor the plant community in Staring Lake as a part of the larger Staring Lake water quality improvement project. This will allow us to determine if the removal was successful and whether follow-up treatments are needed” said Claire Bleser, Administrator for the watershed district. Questions about these efforts can be directed to Claire: 952-607-6512, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: District staff and volunteers pull Eurasian watermilfoil plants by hand at Staring Lake. The white points in the background mark the location of other patches.
Above: Licensed herbicide applicators conduct a treatment for Eurasian watermilfoil on Staring Lake.