Be on the Lookout for Water Hyacinth, an Aquatic Invasive Plant Species Found on the Upper Mississippi River in Pool 8

News Release


National Wildlife Refuge System
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
La Crosse District
N5727 County Road Z

Onalaska, WI 54650


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Hallie Rasmussen

(608)-799-6698


Be on the Lookout for Water Hyacinth, an Aquatic Invasive Plant Species Found on the Upper Mississippi River in Pool 8


Recently, a large amount of water hyacinth was found in Pool 8 near the southern end of French Island (River Mile 699). Water hyacinth is a highly invasive aquatic plant species and can spread very quickly. Agency and non-profit efforts are taking place working to remove these plants, some of which were found almost three miles downstream near River Mile 696.


This was the fourth instance of these plants being found in the Upper Mississippi River. In 2015 there was a large concentration of water hyacinth in Lake Onalaska which is located in Pool 7. In 2011, the plants were discovered in a dozen locations in Pool 5 near Buffalo City, Wisc. and in 2012, a large infestation of nearly 10,000 plants was discovered in a secluded backwater bay.


We are asking anyone using the river (especially around the area the plant was most concentrated) to please keep an eye out for these invaders! If you are interested in volunteering and/or find any of these invasive aquatic plants on the Mississippi River https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/fact/waterhyacinth.html, please report them immediately by calling Scott Caven (608)-781-6333 Aquatic Invasive Species Manager with the River Alliance of Wisconsin or Alex Selle (715)-831-3278 with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Only you can help stop invaders from entering the Upper Mississippi River! This is a reminder for everyone who uses these valuable natural resources to be diligent in their efforts to not transport invasive and/or exotic species; remove vegetation from boat trailers, empty bait buckets on land, pull your drain plugs, and NEVER release anything from your home into the wild.

FOR 78

Friends of the Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) is an official Friends group for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge - La Crosse District

2018 Annual Friends Social

Steve Marking was the featured speaker at the Friends’ annual social held February 25 at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Visitors’ Center. Marking, who grew up learning to hunt and fish on the banks of the Mississippi, works with his wife as entertainers on a Mississippi riverboat that carries passengers down the river on extended cruises. At the social, Markings showed and discussed portions of the Power Point presentation of the Mississippi that Marking shows on the riverboat. The Friends were treated to stunning footage and amazing photographs of the river’s natural beauty and the various wildlife found along its way as well as listen to several of Marking’s show tunes.

 

Educating others to appreciate the beauty and importance of the refuge has been a part of Marking’s life on and off the riverboat. He and his wife currently live on Lake Onalaska and Marking continually films what he sees out his front window as well as up and down the refuge. Marking incorporates these local images as part of his riverboat’s Mississippi River presentation which he punctuates with music and song. The Markings have donated CDs of their music for purchase in the Refuge’s Visitor Center’s bookstore.

FOR 78

Friends of the Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) is an official Friends group for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge - La Crosse District

1st Annual 5th Grade Writing Contest

This spring, fifth graders at Sand Lake Elementary were invited to participate in a FOR78 Pilot Nature Writing Contest to share their experiences of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge. They wrote poems and personal narratives and on June 2nd, awards were presented at the school assembly by Refuge Manger Tim Miller and FOR78 Board member Ruth Davis. 

On June 17th, the first prize winners, Autumn (personal narrative) and Emma (poetry), and their parents enjoyed a 2-hour interpretive cruise with Ranger Katie on beautiful Lake Onalaska aboard the S.S. Squirrel, a pontoon board owned and operated by the North American Squirrel Association (N.A.S.A.). Other prizes included Ranger Rick subscriptions and gift certificates for the nature store. The student writings were inspiring and will be posted on the Prairie Wind Nature Store bulletin board in the Visitor Center – please come take a look after July 15.

 A special thank you to the teachers of Sand Lake Elementary – Mrs. Hoscheit, Mr. O'Neill, and Mr. Schollmeier for engaging the students; Captain Penny Becker for piloting the boat, Kwik Trip for providing the fuel, and N.A.S.A. for providing the boat free of charge. 

FOR 78

Friends of the Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8 (FOR78) is an official Friends group for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge - La Crosse District