Critter of the Month: Purple Loosestrife WATCH

Purple Loosestrife WATCH

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum slaicaria) is an invasive perennial plant that is spreading rapidly in North American rapidly in North American wetlands, shorelines, and roadside ditches. Thick stands of purple loosestrife crowd out native plants and reduce food, shelter, and nesting sites for wildlife, birds, turtles, and frogs. After multiple introductions in the 1800s for bee keeping, as an ornamental plant, and in discarded soil used as ballast on ships, this European species has invaded nearly every U.S. state and at least six Canadian provinces.

Gardeners, waterfowl hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts should know how to identify purple loosestrife- detecting new infestations can prevent the spread of this plant. Report new sightings and help control purple loosestrife.

What you can do to help:

*Learn to recognize Purple Loosestrife.

* Inspect and remove visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from boat, motors and trailers before transport.

* Drain lake or river water from bilge, livewell and motor before leaving access.

* Dispose of unwanted live bait, worms and fish parts in the trash.

* Never dump live fish or live bait into another body of water. If it didn’t start in there it doesn’t belong in there, take it back with you.

* Rinse boat and equipment with high pressure, hot water, AND/OR

* Dry everything for a minimum of five days or more before reuse.

* Report suspected new sightings – not exact location; wrap a plant/animal/mussel fragment in a wet paper towel, place in a sealed plastic bag; and call the Minnesota Sea Grant Program in Duluth, (210-726-8712; or a Minnesota DNR Invasive Species Specialist (see www.mndnr.gov/invasives/contacts.html), 1-888-MINNDNR or (651) 259-5100.

Reminder: Know the rules!

Specimens are needed to confirm sightings, but some jurisdictions prohibit possession and transport of invasive aquatic plants and animals. Unauthorized introduction of plants, fish, or invertebrates into the wild is illegal. Protect your property and our waters.

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