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Weevils to the rescue

Thursday, may have been a day that will mark a turnaround in the war on Eurasian milfoil at Perch Lake, in Homestead Parklands, St. Croix County's park located in town of St. Joseph. The aquatic invasive species was first notice in the lake ten years ago. It has steadily grown and now rims most of the lake. For years divers have been removing it by the roots but each year it became evident that was a temporary solution.

On the bright sunny day, park staff including manager Justin Townsend, working with personnel from Beaver Creek Reserve and Golden Sands Research Conservation and Development Council gently placed thousands milfoil weevils, nestled in previously harvested milfoil, in strategic areas of the lake.

"It may take three years before we see a significant improvement," said Amy Thorstenson, executive director and regional Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator at Golden Sands. The weevils are latest attempt at controlling and perhaps eventually eliminating Eurasian milfoil from the lake. Volunteers had previously harvested Eurasian milfoil from the park which was used as food for growing the weevils.

A DNR grant secured by Homestead Parklands and Beaver Creek Reserve is paying for the project. The weevils are safe, posing no threat to swimmers or other vegetation. They live for meals of Eurasian milfoil. Unfortunately, they are taste temptations for pan fish, which also populate the lake in large numbers. Only time will tell if this biological solution is going to work. In the meantime, testing and monitoring will continue to document if the population of weevils will survive and thrive.

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