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Getting rid of loosestrife

SCHROON LAKE The Schroon Lake and Paradox lake Associations are involved in a project to rid the area of purple loosestrife. At a recent meeting of the Schroon Lake Association there was discussion on the possibilities of raising Galerueela beetles, which eat purple loosestrife. A proposal will be presented to Mountainside Christian Academy and Schroon Lake Central School to have students raise the beetles as a science project. The project has been dubbed beetlemania by Roger Friedman, a member of the SLA. Beetle raising would begin in mid-May when the purple loosestrife begins its growing season. Helen Wildman, president of the SLA, said her group will provide the beetles, if students agree to participate. Beetles would then be released into high;y-infested areas in late June. If left unchecked, this aggressive plant, which is not native to our country and has no natural enemies, will take over wetland areas and drive out waterfowl and other wildlife, according to Ellie Searles of the SLA. Last summer a map pf the Schroon lake area was completed identifying purple loosestrife problems. Smaller areas were harvested, but four or five high-density areas need to be addresses hence the beetle project. Education is an integral part of this project, Searles said. It is hoped everyone will learn to identify this plant and either harvest it or report locations to a lake association member. Areas that have been harvested bear watching for several years because the plant can re-grow easily from the slightest piece of root or seed that was left behind. There are more extensive growths in neighboring towns and it is hoped that each town will consider looking into a program in an effort to drive this plant entirely out of Essex County, she added. Schroon Lake Association members hope residents join their group to provide financial support.

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