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  Eurasian Watermilfoil
in the Great Lakes Region

Overview | General Resources | Related Resources
 
Current invaders:
Crustaceans: Rusty Crayfish | Spiny Water Flea
Fish: Goby (Round) | Goby (Tubenose) | Rudd | Ruffe | Sea Lamprey | White Perch
Mollusks: Quagga Mussel | Zebra Mussel
Plants: Curly-leaf Pondweed | Eurasian Watermilfoil | Phragmites (non-native) | Purple Loosestrife
Viruses: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSv)
 
Potential invaders:
Fish: Asian Carp

[Invasive species home page]

 
What's New
Video seeks help in preventing Great Lakes species invasions
The Associated Press (5/21)
Three states in the Great Lakes region are cooperating on a video campaign encouraging boaters and anglers to avoid spreading invasive species.

Battle continues against non-native plants in EUP
Sault Ste. Marie Evening News (1/23)
Invasive plants have established a firm toehold in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, according to Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) Coordinator Nick Cassel.

University of Michigan program aims to improve scientific credibility of Great Lakes cleanup
The Associated Press (10/30)
The University of Michigan is establishing a research program designed to bring more scientific credibility to the federal government's billion-dollar battle to clean up the Great Lakes.

Ground-breaking ceremony will announce boat wash station at Paradise Lake
Petoskey News-Review (10/1)
A boat wash system at Paradise Lake, Mich., will help prevent the transfer of Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic invasive species into or out of the lake.

Invasive plants, fish threaten Great Lakes region
USA Today (7/9)
The first aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes was the sea lamprey in the 1830s. Now more than 180 species are in the region, and 10 more are "knocking on the door," says a senior policy director for The Nature Conservancy.

Cleaning up the Great Lakes
The Voice (7/30)
New standards governing the cleaning of ballast water in ocean-going freighters, about to be adopted by the U.S. Coast Guard, should help prevent release of non-native species into the Great Lakes and other threatened U.S. waters.

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Overview
Eurasian Watermilfoil Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) was accidentally introduced to North America from Europe. Spread westward into inland lakes primarily by boats and also by waterbirds, it reached midwestern states between the 1950s and 1980s.
 
In nutrient-rich lakes it can form thick underwater stands of tangled stems and vast mats of vegetation at the water's surface. In shallow areas the plant can interfere with water recreation such as boating, fishing, and swimming. The plant's floating canopy can also crowd out important native water plants.
 
underwater stands A key factor in the plant's success is its ability to reproduce through stem fragmentation and underground runners. A single segment of stem and leaves can take root and form a new colony. Fragments clinging to boats and trailers can spread the plant from lake to lake. The mechanical clearing of weed beds for beaches, docks, and landings creates thousands of new stem fragments. Removing native vegetation creates perfect habitat for invading Eurasian watermilfoil.
 
Eurasian watermilfoil has difficulty becoming established in lakes with healthy populations of native plants. In some lakes the plant appears to coexist with native flora and has little impact on fish and other aquatic animals.
 
Likely means of spread: Milfoil may become entangled in boat propellers, and may wrap around other external parts of the boat. Stems can become lodged among any watercraft apparatus or sports equipment that moves through the water, including boat trailers.

 
References: A Field Guide to Aquatic Exotic Plants and Animals, University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program

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General Resources
Biological Control of Eurasian Watermilfoil
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Minnesota
Background on the Eurasion Watermilfoil and biocontrol research for safe, cost-effective control measures.

Habitattitude
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Adopt a conservation mentality: Protect our environment by not releasing unwanted fish and aquatic plants into the wild. Find out what you can do to help this growing problem on this site.

Invasive Plant Council of New York State
This group provides coordination and guidance on the management of invasive plants to protect biodiversity in New York State. Includes a list of the state's top 20 most invasive species, along with photos, and information on biology, range and habitat.

Myriophyllum spicatum
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Factsheet with occurrence details and map.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Flora
GLIN: Fish and Fisheries in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Plants of the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: July 31, 2014
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