Three Lakes Gathers Detailed Info About Terrestrial Invasives

Jun 29, 2014

Three Lakes has completed a detailed survey of terrestrial invasive species in the town. 

A recent roadside survey found only five locations of purple loosestrife in Three Lakes, WI.
Credit Stefan Czapski /

The data was collected by one individual: Baerbel Ehrig walked and biked 260 miles in Three Lakes last year…on both sides of each and every town road. 

Ehrig explains the purpose is to better understand which invasives are present on a local level, and how many of them there are.  And roads are a good place to start. 

“Because they basically are the area of high transport.  There’s not only private traveling going on but also trucks that go all over the country, bicycles, ATVs…and in that way it’s been found that the spread of invasive plant species a lot of times happens from the roadside shoulders.” 

The DNR helped identify a list of 16 species that were of high priority to watch for.  Out of these, Ehrig documented 11 species in Three Lakes.  Spotted knapweed was the most abundant, with over 700 separate sightings.  Meanwhile there was just a single instance of garlic mustard. 

Ehrig says understanding the distribution of invasive plants helps managers figure out what actions to take.  

“It’s really a matter of picking your battle of what makes sense.  For example the purple loosestrife – we only found five locations here.  So that’s not of high amount, and that could still be controlled.” 

Spotted knapweed, however, may be a losing battle.

Baerbel Ehrig will be presenting more details of her survey results Monday night at the Three Lakes Demmer Memorial library at 6:30 p.m.