Eurasian watermilfoil discovered in Lake Florida near Spicer

Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered growing in Lake Florida, five miles west of Spicer, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

Eurasian watermilfoil has now been discovered in 213 lakes and eight rivers or streams in Minnesota.

The nonnative, invasive aquatic plant was discovered near a public water access by a local angler, who reported it to the DNR. The discovery was verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

The DNR will conduct further surveys soon to determine the distribution of the Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake Florida. Also, the DNR will work with local groups and citizens on management of the invasive plant.

Eurasian watermilfoil can form dense mats of vegetation and crowd out native aquatic plants, clog boat propellers, and make water recreation difficult. In Minnesota, the invasive plant has caused problems by producing extensive mats where water depths are less than 15 feet, water clarity is high, and the fertility of the bottom ranges from moderate to high.

At the same time, it is important to note that Eurasian watermilfoil has not caused extensive problems in every lake where it is established. In areas of lakes where the fertility of the bottom is low, for example in sandy areas, the growth of milfoil and aquatic plants in general tends to be low.

The problems caused by Eurasian watermilfoil can be reduced by controlling the plant. Unfortunately, eradication or elimination of the plant from lakes is not a realistic goal.

“The DNR has more than 20 years experience in the battle to eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil from Minnesota lakes,” said Chip Welling, DNR Eurasian watermilfoil coordinator. “We have also learned from watching efforts in other states that the plant can be managed but complete eradication is not a realistic goal.”

To help stop aquatic hitchhikers such as Eurasian watermilfoil, boaters are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, nets, anchors and other equipment before trailering them. It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport water from infested waters, aquatic plants, and prohibited invasive species on public roads or to launch watercraft with them attached.

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