Invasive, non-native species such as Eurasian water milfoil not only make people’s lives miserable, they cause serious damage to Wisconsin’s natural lands and waters. See how Nature Conservancy staff and scientists are working together at our Lulu Lake Preserve in southeast Wisconsin to test a new technique to help native aquatic plants compete with Eurasian water milfoil.

At Lulu Lake, Nature Conservancy and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse scientists are testing a new technique to help native plants compete with invasive Eurasian water milfoil. © Clint Farlinger

Eurasian water milfoil is a non-native aquatic plant that grows quickly in the spring in lakes and rivers. © Jerry Ziegler/TNC

It forms a thick mass of tangled stems underwater that get caught in boat propellers, rudders and trailers. Larger fish can’t swim into the dense mats to lay eggs. © Allison Fox, University of Florida, Bugwood.org

Dr. Tim Gerber, UW-La Crosse, and undergraduate student Margaux Huismann SCUBA dive to remove Eurasian water milfoil from Lulu Lake. © Jerry Ziegler/TNC

The milfoil is collected in floating “noodle” bags and removed from the lake to keep it from re-rooting; amount shown here was collected in 15 minutes. © Jerry Ziegler/TNC

The Conservancy and Dr. Gerber are testing the use of biodegradable coconut fiber mats to get native aquatic plants to grow in the places where milfoil was removed and give the invader some competition.
© Jerry Ziegler/TNC

High school interns weave native pondweed into coconut mats, which were grown in a greenhouse and then placed in Lulu Lake where they are helping to suppress Eurasian water milfoil. © Jerry Ziegler/TNC

If successful, this technique could be used in other lakes and rivers to reduce Eurasian water milfoil and keep waterways like Lulu Lake healthy for people and nature. © Jerry Ziegler/TNC

Learn more about how The Nature Conservancy works with others to prevent and control the spread of invasive species in Wisconsin.


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