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River Alliance to offer invasive species detection program Thursday in Aurora

July 3, 2010
The Daily News

FLORENCE, Wis. - On Thursday, the Florence County Land Conservation Department will host Laura McFarland, the River Alliance of Wisconsin coordinator of "Project RED," or "Riverine Early Detectors."

The program will be held at the Hillcrest School in Aurora at 4 p.m. The meeting is free and open to all.

The program enlists and trains volunteers to detect invasive species in Wisconsin waterways. McFarland will identify and explain the threats posed by these plant and animal invaders. She will explain the Project RED program and how citizen volunteers can help.

The program "encourages you to paddle with a purpose and help protect our river corridors from invasion of horrors such as the dreaded "Rock Snot" (aka Didymo)."

"Aquatic and terrestrial invasive species such as the New Zealand mud snail, zebra mussel, purple loosestrife, and others are slipping undetected through the blue cracks in our maps - our rivers," said McFarland. "Invasive species threaten the biodiversity of our rivers and can make paddling or fishing less enjoyable. Invasives also use rivers as dispersal corridors spreading throughout a watershed, from one lake or wetland to the next."

Species, such as Japanese knotweed, can spread as high spring flows carry rhizomes or live vegetative matter that can resprout when deposited on fertile floodplains downstream.

Early detection of an infestation in or along a river can allow the containment or eradication of an invasive before it is too late.

"Monitoring these systems can be difficult for those that do not frequently romp between riverbanks as we do," said McFarland. "That is why the River Alliance of Wisconsin is calling all river enthusiasts (paddlers, anglers, etc.) and riparian landowners to help detect invasive species."

For more information, please contact Maureen Ferry, Aquatic Invasive Species Program manager, Florence County Land Conservation Department at (715) 528-5940.

Please contact (715) 528-3483 or to R.S.V.P.



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