How to identify aquatic invasives and how to restore a shoreline were the topics of a July 21 open house hosted by Waupaca’s Friends of Mirror and Shadow Lakes.
Approximately 30 people attended the program at the home of Vern and Jan Hanke.
Those who live on either of the city’s two lakes got an up close look at invasives and shorelines.
“There are different techniques for restoration,” Patrick Goggins, a UW-Extension lake specialist, said in regard to shoreland habitats.
In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency studied lakes throughout the United States and found that the No. 1 stressor for them was the loss of habitat on the shoreline, he said.
A shoreline should have trees, shrubs and groundcover. Each provides habitat for different species of wildlife.
“When you put the mower away, it’s amazing how quickly the natural habitat returns,” Goggins said. “Nature’s pretty good and resilient when given the chance.”
He said aquatic plants are also part of the equation.
Kate Carson, an aquatic invasive species coordinator with Golden Sands RC&D, taught them about the types of aquatic plants they do no want to see in the lakes.
She showed the residents examples of aquatic invasives, including Eurasian Milfoil, Curly Leaf Pondweed, purple loosestrife and zebra mussels.
Carson periodically checks the lakes for Eurasian Milfoil and said she has not found any this year.
Last year, the invasive was found, and the city responded with a chemical treatment.
Those who see invasives in the lakes can hand pull them, Carson said.
“Make sure you get all of it out of the water,” she said.
That is because broken segments can also grow, Carson said.
“If you find these things when there’s a smaller population, it’s easier to get rid of them,” she said. “If you can catch it early and get enough people to collect these, then you have a pretty good chance of knocking it back.”
Invasives crowd out native plants. In the case of some, such as purple loosestrife, biological controls have been identified to help.
Biological controls are being used on Shadow Lake with purple loosestrife.
“It’s a pretty plant, but it’s not a nice plant,” Carson said. “One plant can produce between 1 and 2 million seeds.”
If someone finds purple loosestrife on a wetland, he should report it to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, she said.
While zebra mussels have not been found in Mirror and Shadow lakes, they have been found on the Chain O’ Lakes, Carson said.
“There is no effective control for them right now,” she said. “That is why it is very important to wash boats off.”
Carson said invasive species often come from other parts of the world and from different ecosystems.
“They get introduced to a habitat they don’t belong in, so there are no native predators. They tend to take over the ecosystems and kick out the native species,” she said.
As Goggins discussed what residents can do on the shoreline, he said it is about balance.
“Development decisions made in the past have affected the lakes,” he said. “We’re living with some of the legacy of that and hopefully, we can make better decisions in the future.”