Though flowering rush produces beautiful flower heads in the summer, a unique strain of this invasive species has been rapidly overtaking the shoreline of Forest Lake and causing headaches for lakeshore homeowners. As three Central crews removed the plants in late July, they were warmly greeted by landowners who were happy to see the immediate results of the work. The Forest Lake infestation is the only one in Minnesota where the plants produce viable seeds – all others in the state reproduce only through their roots and have sterile seeds – making removal of this fast-spreading invasive a priority for the watershed.
Dressed in chest-high waders, the Mississippi, St. Paul Roving and Minnehaha crew members cut the plants by hand below the water line, in water up to four feet deep. At deeper levels, they used a cutting machine that hung over the side of their motor boat, and at the water’s edge they applied herbicide. As one of only a couple areas in the state to attempt removal of flowering rush, crew members are working with project partner Comfort Lake Forest Lake Watershed District (CLFLWD) to develop an effective way to manage the invasive plants. CLFLWD Administrator Mike Kinney will have crews return in late August to check progress and remove any regrowth. Project partners also include Washington Conservation District and Minnesota DNR.