Wisconsin Community Holds Conference on Invasive Species

By KBJR News 1

April 20, 2013 Updated Apr 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM CDT

Barnes, WI (NNCNOW.com) - The lakes may still be frozen, but fishing season opens in two short weeks, which brings up the topic of invasive species.

"Eurasian water milfoil makes recreation difficult, it's hard for the boats to get through the vegetation masses, it's hard on the fisheries," said Scott Peterson of Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters, "rustic crawfish kill off the indigenous species. So what we are left with is a monoculture which is not good to our natural food chain."

Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters and Eau Claire Lakes Area Property Owner Association hosted a conference about invasive species in lakes and streams to help the public understand how these species spread.

"The rivers are sourced by lakes, St. Croix River starts in upper St. Croix Lake, Eau Claire River starts in the Eau Claire Lake chain... so if there is a problem with aquatic invasives on the source lake, it goes right down the river and could go down into the next lake and then down the river again," said Peterson.

Students from a Grantsburg High School biology class gave a presentation about these pests and what people can do to help stop the invasions.

"The biggest thing is just to control the spread of them, so if you are a boater and you have a boat you want to wash off your boat if you go to another lake because they can be transferred from lake to lake to lake. That's usually how it happens," said Grantsburg senior, Connor Myers.

Another thing that could affect the lake's health this year is the lingering winter.

"One of the concerns with deep snow and thick ice is that the plants are dying rather than still producing oxygen under the water and that may result in winter kill for fish, but we won't know that until the ice is off," said Grantsburg biology teacher, Matt Berg.

Grantsburg High School has been teaming up with lake associations to help them identify lake trends since 2008.