June is Invasive Species awareness month in Wisconsin; and in Bayfield County there are plenty aware of the damage invasive species can do. You might, however, not know what is being done locally to curb these non-native species from taking over our landscape.
Bayfield County has a strong group of volunteers who have worked to keep invasive species at bay. The list of activities these folks undertake is immense. Perhaps most visibly they help to coordinate Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW) inspections at boat landings, which prevent dreadful zebra mussels from entering our lakes. This month CBCW inspectors will be handing out ice packs at the boat landings as part of the statewide “Drain Campaign.” This reminds boaters to drain water from their boat, equipment, and live wells so they do not move microscope invasive species living in the water.
Unfortunately eurasian water-milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed are both invasive plants found in some of our most loved lakes. In these lakes, it has either been reduced to a non-nuisance level or kept from spreading. This is thanks to the many people working with DNR support to control these plants. We have been weeding (hand pulling) these devious macrophytes looking to displace our wonderful native aquatic plants when found in small areas and using chemical control as an option if they get out of hand.
We also have volunteers and professionals alike on the hunt, constantly scanning for invasives by sea as well as by land. Through the Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area (NCWMA) www.northwoodscwma.org many have worked to seek and control knotweed, buckthorn, phragmites, and garlic mustard. There are also many trained shoreland and on the water monitors who keep an eye out for aquatic invasives while enjoying their day on the lake. Dozens of individuals have attended a workshop to identify these species and collect samples for confirmation.
Residents and organizations like Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission have also worked to prevent purple loosestrife from taking over in our wetlands, lakes, and streams. A biological control has been available for many years now and through great efforts we have effectively reduced the purple loosestrife in our county.
If you would like to find out more about invasive species or learn what you can do to help prevent them, visit our website or like our FaceBook page. You can also contact Jeremy Bates, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator through the Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation Department