Ecological response to Eurasian watermilfoil management in a Lake Superior Coastal Waterway

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58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research

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Juneau, Kevyn J.; Huckins, Casey J.; Marcarelli, Amy; Chimner, Rodney; Brooks, Colin N.; Xue, Pengfei; Meadows, Guy A.
Management; Eurasian watermilfoil; Invasive species; Biological invasions; environmental effects; roads; Lake Superior; Ecosystems; Streams; Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI); Stamp sand; Nutrients; Restoration; Biology; Environmental Sciences; Life Sciences
conference paper description
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum, EWM), is a prolific invasive plant in North America. Populations of EWM have recently been established in coastal waterways of the Upper Great Lakes, where cold water temperatures and intense circulation patterns present a unique management challenge. Management of EWM is further complicated by its ability to hybridize with native northern watermilfoil (M. sibiricum) producing a community of watermilfoil with varying resistance and susceptibility to management activities. The goal of our study is to conduct a multi-faceted control program to identify the best management practices for arresting the growth and spread of EWM and its hybrids in the Upper Great Lakes via a multi-year treatment and monitoring program in the Keweenaw Waterway, Michigan. Year 1 studies of herbicide treatments show a significant decrease in EWM biomass 6 weeks after herbicide treatment, but an increase in dominance by watermilfoil hybrids. There were no changes in total biomass of non-target macrophytes or phytoplankton after treatment. In year 2, we will explore the efficacy and logistics of supplementing herbicide-based approaches with non-chemical control measures to improve management of EWM and its hybrids, with the ultimate goal of creating more cost-and time-effective treatment option.