Watermilfoil management research conducted on Lake Minnetonka and Christmas Lake

University of Minnesota fisheries researcher Ray Newman and student on Christmas Lake in Hennepin County, Minnesota. He is looking for milfoil weevil, a promising biocontrol that eats invasive eurasian water milfoil. U of MN research of biological control of aquatic, invasive species. Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station research project #41-074, “Trophic Relations in Freshwater Systems,” Principal Investigator Raymond M. Newman.(Photo courtesy of Minnehaha Creek Watershed District)

University of Minnesota fisheries researcher Ray Newman and student on Christmas Lake in Hennepin County, Minnesota. He is looking for milfoil weevil, a promising biocontrol that eats invasive eurasian water milfoil. U of MN research of biological control of aquatic, invasive species. Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station research project #41-074, “Trophic Relations in Freshwater Systems,” Principal Investigator Raymond M. Newman.(Photo courtesy of Minnehaha Creek Watershed District)

A little known type of watermilfoil could be more invasive and tougher to control than the Eurasian variety, according to new study findings from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and researchers from Montana State University and the University of Minnesota.

Using genetic screening, the joint research project detected hybrid watermilfoil in several bays of Lake Minnetonka and nearby Christmas Lake and examined how it may be affected by large-scale herbicide applications to control Eurasian watermilfoil. Hybrid watermilfoil is a cross between the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and northern watermilfoil, which is native to Minnesota. Genetic analysis is needed to properly identify hybrid watermilfoil.

Researchers discovered the hybrid plant was more prevalent in areas treated with herbicides than those with little management. This suggests large scale herbicide treatments could promote hybrid watermilfoil growth and some hybrids may show greater tolerance to treatment.

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