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Izaak Walton League to host invasive species meetings

For the next two months, the Izaak Walton League is trying to shed some light on invasive species.

"Because of the interest in invasives, and as I spoke to knowledgeable professionals, we just did not feel we could cover it all in one evening," Ikes Vice President Sally Hausken said. She also does the speaker scheduling.

So, Monday evening, Darrin Hoverson of the Bemidji Department of Natural Resources will speak on aquatic invasive species like flowering rush, zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil.

Then on Monday, Feb. 8, Erik Anthonisen of the Fergus Falls DNR will speak on prairie invasive exotics like spotted knapweed, leafy spurge and wormwood.

Both meetings start at 7 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Library.

They will answer questions like, "What's invading us?" "What can we do about them?" and "How do we adapt to them?"

"Flowering rush is a real hot-button issue. Any time we start talking about flowering rush, we can easily chew up an hour," Hausken said.

"Obviously the aquatics is significantly important to our area here," added Ikes President Bill Henke.

So much so that citizens have organized and taken part in Crush the Rush efforts two summers in a row, trying to control the flowering rush along the city beach by hand harvesting it.

Henke said getting information is key, and the Ikes want to provide as much "knowledge to abate the problem as we can."

Hausken said Hoverson is the state expert on aquatic invasives. With the two men who haven't spoken in the area, there may be fresh ideas along with the fresh faces.

And while they can't provide a cure, they can help with control issues.

"What would happen if we dig it out, what would happen if we ... whatever the other choices are," she said are questions that she hopes will be answered.

"Overall, the purpose is to have responsibility and the responsibility to our environment and what we bring into our borders," Henke said.

One of those responsibilities is as simple as checking boats when taking them out of the water and transferring them to another lake.

As humans, Henke said, "we aren't sure what to do and thus don't do anything, but it is our responsibility."

There will be a question and answer period, and the public is invited to attend the presentations.

The Izaak Walton League is a conservation organization that "pays attention to natural resources and to what's happening with our natural resources," Hausken said.

"We try to educate as much as we can, point out what we can," Henke added.