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NEWS STORIES

Another option? Studying weevils' ability to control invasive species in Northwoods lakesSubmitted: 08/19/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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BOULDER JUNCTION - The problem of invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil in Northwoods lakes never seems to stop.

Lake groups can cut it, but it often grows back.

Chemical treatments often work, but they put artificial ingredients into lakes.

What if there was another option?

We found one group on the hunt for one.

"We're on Boot Lake," Nick Winter says as we motor onto the water body near Eagle River.

The Lakeland Union High School graduate and current Minnesota-Duluth undergrad loves spending days on the lake.

"It's kind of fun to be around people that are as passionate about environmental problems as you are," he says.

Nick and two other college students are working on a study through the UW-Madison Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction.

Everything they do revolves around creatures only a few millimeters long.

"A weevil is a small insect and it's aquatic, so it lives underwater," Susan Knight explains.

She leads the project, which studies what impact these weevils have on invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil.

"They burrow down into the stem and eat their way down the stem," Susan says. "As they're eating the stem, that is killing off at least the top of the plant."

On the boat, Nick helps put a handful of plants into a Ziploc bag.

"These are going to be the plants that we're going to use to search for weevils," he says.

Last year, thousands of weevils were set free in three test lakes.

Susan, Nick, and the team want to find out if they're effective in killing the invasive milfoil.

"It would be really nice to know that there is a biological control," Susan says. "Some means of control that is not chemical."

Besides just the sample stems, "we take a biomass sample," Nick explains, "so we go take a rake pull and get all of the biomass that we can off of that."

Then, all of the samples are shuttled back to the lab.

"We have a pan for all of the natives and a pan for just the Eurasian. They'll go into a big drying oven for a few days," Susan explains. "We think that weevils would be a success if we saw more natives and less Eurasian."

While part of the team weighs the dried biomass, others spend hours peering into microscopes.

"It's kind of a necessary evil," Nick says about the lab work, laughing. "This is where we get all of the important information for our study."

"They will examine those plants to see whether or not there are weevils at any life stage: eggs, larva, pupae, and adults," Susan says.

The team picks out and preserves samples of the insects in all four stages.

They're the focus of all of the effort leading up to what Northwoods researchers hope is a firm answer.

"If we could get a clear-cut result and say, weevils did or did not have any effect on the biomass, that would be ideal," Susan says.

They've still got plenty of data collection and number-crunching left to do before they find that answer.

But until then, on the water is not a bad place to spend a college summer.

"I feel like what we're doing is kind of like trailblazing," Nick says proudly. "It's a big project."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Northwoods Children's Museum hosts turkeys for educationSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - People who head to the Northwoods Children's Museum will get a special surprise.

The museum in Eagle River is hosting a couple of live turkeys this month.

Workers say the live animals help children understand exactly where their Thanksgiving meals come from.

The program has been running for about 10 years.

Turkey and Tradition draws a lot of people to Eagle River every November.

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Black Friday Shopping in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - Many people woke up early and headed to the store for Black Friday.

It is considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year because it can mark the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Holiday Model Train Show Opens in MinocquaSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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MINOCQUA - If Black Friday and the snow didn't get you into the Christmas spirit just yet, a local train display could help.

The Northwoods Model Railroad Club opened Santa's Village Friday.

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Local author writes book after 11 years of researchSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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PRESQUE ISLE - You can learn a lot about your family history after 11 years of research.

Presque Isle's Richard Fields now knows five generations of his family name, and 1200 people related to him.

He started his research in 2003. Fields finished this year.

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Wisconsin's wolf hunt may soon come to an endSubmitted: 11/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin's wolf hunt may soon come to an end.

Hunters are four wolves shy of Wisconsin's statewide kill limit, throwing the prospect of using dogs in this year's hunt into doubt.

State tallies show hunters had taken 146 wolves as of Thursday, just short of the 150 wolf limit.

The 2012 Republican law that created Wisconsin's wolf hunt allows hunters to use dogs to trail wolves beginning the first day after the end of the nine-day gun deer season.

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Funeral set for 3 children who died in U.P. crashSubmitted: 11/28/2014

DAGGETT, MI - A funeral has been scheduled for the three children killed in a weather-related crash in the Upper Peninsula.

TV station WBUP-WBKP reports (http://bit.ly/1vpSGy8 ) the funeral for Michael, Maxwell and Joelle McCue is set for Sunday at the Carney Free Church in the Menominee County community of Carney. The children ages 11 to 14 died Monday after their van smashed into a semi-truck on snowy U.S. 41 near Daggett.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/28/2014

- People in the Northwoods didn't let the chillier temperatures stop them from heading out for Black Friday this morning.

- Kids in Eagle River got a special treat at the Northwoods Children's Museum. The museum brought in two live turkeys for their annual Turkey and Traditions event. Every November, two turkeys are brought in to help teach kids about where their Thanksgiving meal comes from. Hear about the importance of the program coming up on Newswatch 12 tonight.

- If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, a local model train show can help transport you to Santa's Village.

- And homemade pizzas turn into more than sauce and dough at one Eagle River household. We'll meet Gary Anderson tonight on Newswatch 12 and tell you how his pizza making turned into a fundraising tool to help people in the Northwoods.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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