AMWS Photo: Anonymous, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Photo: Anonymous,
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Purple loosestrife:
It may be beautiful to look at, but its effects on our pond are anything but!

The Martins Pond Association is pleased to be a part of the Association of Massachusetts Wetlands Scientists’ Purple Loosestrife Biomonitoring Control Project.

Helping us in this effort are members of Merrimack Professor Jon Lyon’s environmental management class.

Loosestrife Update 2009

The Town of North Reading, Massachusetts, the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee, and Merrimack College have partnered in many projects to improve Martins Pond and the watershed. Martins Pond is a roughly 100 acre pond 20 miles North of Boston.

One of our collaborations has been the raising and release of Galerucella beetles to combat the invasive species commonly known as Purple Loosestrife starting in 2002. This was done under the direction and authority of the State of Massachusetts Wetland Restoration Program http://www.mass.gov/czm/wrp/projects_pages/loosestrife.htm and beetles are purchased through the USDA.

We are very pleased to attach Dr. Jon Lyon’s final report on the success of this project. Beetles have been established in the area, and no further local release expected.

Funding was provided by Merrimack College, Martins Pond Association, Town of North Reading, Massachusetts DEP, Massachusetts Lakes & Ponds program, and the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund over the years. The project was not particularly expensive, but required many hours of volunteer time, particularly by Dr. Lyon and his students who raised beetles at their greenhouse at the college to multiply our investment before release.

Thanks to Dr. Lyon, Merrimack College student volunteers, and the many North Reading volunteers, the Town and all the organizations involved for funding or supporting this worthwhile project.

Status Report on the Biological Control of Purple Loosestrife Project around Martins Pond: 2002 to 2009

Loosestrife Harvest 2007

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Loosestrife Harvest 2007 grp1_07 grp2_07

Loosestrife Harvest 2005

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Loosestrife Project 2002

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The Garucella beetles were successfully raised at Merrimack College and released into the wetlands south of the pond on Tuesday June 25th 2002.

Thanks to all of you helped out making the data quadrants a few weeks ago, it made the release a cinch.

I was just contacted by our link to the State in this, Robin Reiner of the Assoc of Mass. Wetland Scientists that we may be receiving several thousand additional bugs next week to supplement our efforts. At 10 cents a bug if we were to purchase ourselves, this is great news.

Merrimack started with about 500 adult beetles, and raised several thousand more, which are munching on the Loosestrife as we speak.

We will take pictures this year to compare with over the next few years to see how the project is working.

You will probably not see a reduction this year, as it takes about 2-3 seasons for the bugs to really multiply. Jonathan may be willing to raise them again next year for either more release, or more sites.

We will be looking for folks every 6 months to go into the wetland and collect data.