Curly-leaf Pondweed removed from Lake Wausau

Published: Jun. 24, 2019 at 9:36 PM CDT
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The Lake Wausau Association is hoping to remove several hundred pounds of Curly-leaf Pondweed from the water and they're working non-stop to make sure it happens as soon as possible.

The seaweed plant originally comes from Europe and Asia, but boats that have traveled from overseas have transferred the invasive species to North America causing havoc in Lake Michigan and even Lake Wausau. The removal effort is now in its fourth year. ‘

“We are trying to make sure that we have native plant growth in the lake,” explained Rick Parkin who is President of Lake Wausau Association. “The DNR told us it would be great for us to remove the Curly Leaf to benefit the entire lake.”

The Curled Pondweed continues to grow under the ice during Winter, however, in the summer months the plant dies off after it reproduces. The nitrogen from the plant is then released after death causing Algae Blooms which makes the water a risk to interact with for any water activity.

“If we didn’t harvest this, it could eventually kill the fish in the water too,” said Ed Walder who was contracted to clear the lake. “When the plant starts to decompose, it will suck the oxygen out of the water which will cause the fish to die off.”

According to water experts, the Pondweed is usual for something in North America. Over the years farmers and gardeners have used the weed as fertilizer.

“This is an aquatic plant which means the weeds won’t grow in your garden. It’s like giving your garden a shot of vitamins,” explained Parkin.

More than 250 tons were removed from the lake over the last four years and taken to the city dumpsite where people can collect pick it up and use for themselves.