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Great Lakes Article:

Environmental group, state to begin loosestrife survey

Jul 7, 2002

RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- An environmental organization is looking for volunteers to help survey counties along Lake Michigan for an invasive plant species.

The state has not mapped the extent of purple loosestrife since 1987, said Charlie Luthin, executive director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

" Unfortunately I think the plant has gotten an even greater foothold, " he said.

Purple loosestrife, introduced in eastern North America in the early 1800s, has degraded wetlands by crowding out native plants.

The association worked with the state to organize the survey, which eventually will cover the rest of the state. Volunteers will start the survey in the next few weeks when the plants display their distinctive blooms, Luthin said.

The volunteers will give the results to the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which will map the plant' s range.

After the survey, the association and the state will train people how to grow and release bugs that feed on loosestrife.

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