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Volunteers pull out exotic species to enhance beach

A group of 15 volunteer scuba divers from St. Croix Scuba in Hudson gathered at the beach on Perch Lake Saturday morning to pull Eurasian watermilfoil. The exotic and invasive species was first noticed in the lake around 2001.

"We try to get in three pulls a season," said Bob Heise, director of land, water and parks for St. Croix County. "It is important to keep it down in the beach area so it remains appealing for swimmers."

The long, stringy plant thrives in shallow water along the shoreline. It is less of a problem on Perch Lake because of the lake's depth.

Along with the divers, nearly a dozen other people donned their waders to help with the project.

The Friends of Perch Lake provided lunch for the group. Jim Traeger and his son, Tyler, cooked the ribs and chicken. The family team is hoping to have a product ready for the Minnesota State Fair in the next couple of years.