It's a growing problem in Wisconsin lakes...Eurasian water milfoil. But one area lake association, is hoping to stop this invasive weed in its tracks with the help of their little friends...the weevils.
The people behind me here are distributing weevils on Lake Holcombe. This is the second year of a three year project where they hope the weevils will make Lake Holcombe their home.
"We want to keep this lake like it is. It's a beautiful lake. A pristine spot and we all want to keep it just like it is," explains Doc Dougherty who has a cottage on the lake and is a member of the lake association. He says the Eurasian water milfoil started taking over the lake about 8 years ago.
"Eurasian water milfoil is an obnoxious invasive plant. It's not native, and when it comes into a lake it tends to aggressively out compete our native plants...become thick to the point where it upsets the ecology of the lake and impedes recreation," says Amy Thorstenson with the Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development. She’s been helping the lake association with the breeding of the weevils.
After chemicals failed, the lake association worked with the DNR for this pilot program to breed their own weevils at this site here. But the full sun was a problem last year.
"This year we experimented with shade cloth, and we'll see if the productions from the tanks are higher that way. Last year they produced half the number of weevils we expected and we thought it was probably because they were getting too hot," says Thorstenson. However, the weevils that did make it into the lake seem to be doing their job.
"We have weevils, we have larva, we have adults, we have stem damage on the lake where we never had any such thing before. Indicating that where we planted the weevils they made it through the winter came back out again and spread around the lake," says Dougherty.
"They have such an outstanding volunteer crew. The kind of dedication they've been showing to show up and take care of the weevils like how they need to. That's exactly what you need for a project like this," says Thorstenson.
Dougherty explains, "You got to give all the credit to the people. All the people on the lake that want to see her go."