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Au Sable Teams with Manistee Lake Improvement Board to Continue Research on Eurasian Watermilfoil

Dec 29, 2014

The Au Sable Institute is pleased to announce its latest research partnership, a joint effort between the Institute and the Manistee Lake Improvement Board to continue a study, begun in 2013, of the effects of the Milfoil Weevil on the control of the aquatic invasive species, Eurasian watermilfoil. Through funding provided by the Lake Improvement Board, Au Sable will conduct a second year of investigation documenting trends in the abundance and distribution of Eurasian watermilfoil in relation to weevil abundance, and determine the relationship between the damage inflicted on the plant by weevils in late spring (May) and the abundance of Eurasian watermilfoil in late summer (July).   

The research not only has high relevance to the residents around Manistee Lake, but for lake managers everywhere who are faced with the growing problem of controlling the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil throughout the US and Canada. Invasive species are among the most important threats to conservation of native ecosystems and species today, and can reduce or eradicate native species they outcompete. Using a detailed 150-point grid map of Manistee Lake, John Korstad and his student research assistants will be able to make a detailed determination of where milfoil is present, what proportion of the milfoil is infested with or has been damaged by weevils, and whether such damage will limit the spread of milfoil over the summer. Then, by comparing the data collected this summer with past years, Korstad and his students will be able to evaluate longer-term trends in the abundance and distribution of milfoil in Manistee Lake, and whether the weevils are having the intended effect.

Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Au Sable’s Executive Director, said of the study, “We at the Institute are honored to receive this grant from the Manistee Lake Improvement Board, a reflection of their trust in our scientific capability and professional integrity in doing this work. It means even more to us to be able to render an important service to our friends and neighbors around Manistee Lake, while at the same time providing opportunity for our students to gain firsthand experience in research that actually matters in conservation.” Dr. John Korstad noted, “I am delighted to be a part of this continuing collaborative work with area lakeside homeowners.  This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the practical applications of Au Sable’s excellent academic program.” Wayne Jonker, Secretary-Treasurer of the Manistee Lake Improvement Board, noted that “The support of the Lake Improvement Board was unanimous. We are happy to approve this partnership with the Au Sable Research Team.” At Au Sable, we look forward to being part of this important and exciting work serving our neighbors and teaching our students in this important effort to care for God’s creation.