Fall is a Great Time to Identify Invasive Species

Early fall can be a great time to identify invasive species around your property. Invasive species can potentially outcompete native plants. Controlling invasive species can help increase native plant diversity and create better habitat for local wildlife. It also help stop the spread of invasive seeds to your neighbor's property and other natural areas. The first step in managing invasive species on your property is by identifying them. Three species to look out for this time of the year are:

Canada Thistle is an aggressive perennial that produces many seeds. They are best identified by their wavy spiny/toothed margins that can be prickly if walked through. Most of their purple flowers have turned into a ball of white fluff by this time of year

Purple loosestrife is listed as a MDA prohibited noxious weed that grows along shoreland areas. Purple loosestrife can make it difficult to access open water and the dense root systems can even change the hydrology of wetlands. Leaves are lance-shaped with smooth edges and grow up to four inches long. They are usually arranged in pairs opposite each other on the stem, and rotated 90 degrees from the pair below. Individual flowers have five or six pink-purple petals surrounding small, yellow centers. Single flowers make up flower spikes, which can be up to one foot tall. This is a great time to look for the bright purple flowers along your shore.

Common tansy is also an invasive species that is currently flowering. The flowers are bright yellow and button like arranged in a flat-topped cluster. The leaves look fern like with reddish-brown stems. It is very common invasive species in the arrowhead of Minnesota. This quick spreading species can greatly impact landscape restoration efforts.

You can reach out to ACD if you want to confirm an invasive species on your property or want advice on how to manage the invasive population. 

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Chloride Trends in the Rum River Watershed

The Metropolitan Council (MCES) put out a report on the trends of chloride in the Rum River Watershed. This report was based on data collected from 2001 to 2019 by both the MCES and Anoka Conservation District. Chloride concentrations have been rapidly rising in many waterbodies, including shallow aquifers, throughout Minnesota. This is a worrying trend because chloride is a permanent water pollutant that is toxic to fish, aquatic bugs, and amphibians. The main sources of chloride pollution in Minnesota comes from livestock excreta, household water softening, synthetic fertilizer, and de-icing salt. Chloride concentrations can be greatly affected by other factors like season, precipitation, and streamflow. During the winter months, concentrations rise with the use of approximately 400,000 tons of de-icing salt on Twin Cities' roads. Precipitation and streamflow also affect the concentration by dilution during high flow and precipitation years and concentration during low flow and precipitation years.

Luckily, the MCES found that concentrations of chloride are generally low in the Rum River. Chloride was increasing from 2001 to 2012 but has remained stable since 2012. Although this is a good sign, climate change is creating a wetter, warmer climate in Minnesota. This will greatly affect the freeze-thaw cycle and will have an unpredictable affect on pollution dynamics. Understanding how pollutants like chloride can affect Minnesota's waterways is an important step in keeping our waterways clean.
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Long Term Success of Cedar Tree Revetment Projects in Anoka County

Cedar tree revetments are a cost-effective bioengineering practice that can be used to stabilize actively eroding riverbanks. This spring, staff from the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) visited several cedar revetment projects that ACD had installed between 2002 and 2016. The two staff from the USACE had been traveling to several states to review what is working and what is not working when it comes to cedar revetment projects. They are hoping to use the information to publish technical notes and/or peer reviewed literature.

They were very impressed by the effectiveness of ACD's revetments, even the very old ones. They attribute this effectiveness to the removal of the back branches. They had not seen this technique in any other state they had visited. Most cedar revetment failures studied, seemed to come from the trees moving/floating during high water and scour behind the trees causing more erosion. They also saw many trees that snapped in half, which was potentially from the stress of so much movement. They are planning to highlight the technique of removing the back branches in any published literature.

Almost all of ACD's revetments visited were still in place. Most had stopped, or greatly decreased erosion at the toe but did not fill in with sediment. The most common failure was broken wire that held the tree to the duckbill anchor. In most of these cases, the trees did not move a lot from where they were originally placed. The breakage seemed to be caused by rust.

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Lake Water Levels

The Department of Natural Resources collaborates with Anoka Conservation District to collect lake level data from many lakes across the county. This partnership allows ACD to work directly with county residents who volunteer for the lake level program. These volunteers record the lake level from a staff gauge placed in the lake (typically close to their property) weekly. These data are then reported to ACD and the DNR, and are used on the LakeFinder website.

The DNR LakeFinder website is the best means for the public to access available data on more than 4,500 Minnesota lakes relating to fisheries information, lake area and maximum depth, depth maps, lake water levels, water quality and clarity, air photos, and topographic maps. About 1,450 of the lakes have a historical record of more than 100 water level readings.

At the LakeFinder main page, go to "Find a Lake" and search by county, lake name, or 8-digit identification number for any lake. Click on the lake in the Search Results. On the next page, click on Water Levels report in the left hand column.

The Lake Water Level report page contains information from reported data, including:

  • reported historical and current lake levels
  • period of record and number of readings
  • highest recorded lake level
  • highest known lake level
  • lowest recorded lake level
  • recorded range
  • ordinary high water level [also shown as the red line on the 10-year graph]
  • datum
  • benchmarks
  • most recent 10-year graph [X-axis Year tick mark references mid-year]

ACD is currently seeking a volunteer for Peltier Lake. The permanent staff gauge is affixed to the outlet dam and is easily accessible from the Peltier Lake and Rice Creek Boat Launch parking lot. Having consistent data will help keep the DNR's LakeFinder website up to date throughout the summer. If you are interested in volunteering in taking weekly readings at Peltier Lake, you can reach out to Mollie Annen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 763-434-2030 ex. 180

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It's Garlic Mustard Season!

Now is a great time of year to check your property for Garlic Mustard. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolatais) is an invasive species originally from Europe and Asia and typically establishes in the understory of forests and in fields. Garlic Mustard can spread quickly in the wind and can soon start to outcompete native species by emerging earlier, blocking sunlight, and using the limited moisture and nutrients in the ecosystem. Garlic Mustard also releases chemicals into the soil via its roots that alters the important underground network of fungi that connect nutrients between native plants.

During its first year, garlic mustard leaves are rounder and take on a rosette formation at ground level. In their second year, the leaves grow up a flowering stem and become more triangular and heart-shaped with toothed edges. Small white four-petaled flowers emerge in the spring. Hand pulling is an easy way to control small populations of Garlic Mustard and is best done in the spring before they go to seed. These plants can then be placed in a plastic bag and thrown out with the garbage and should not be composted.

Any effort to remove Garlic Mustard from your property might seem daunting, but over time, you will hopefully see native plants start to repopulate the areas you have removed Garlic Mustard.


Learn more about Garlic Mustard here:

Garlic mustard distribution on EDDMaps

Garlic mustard fact sheet

MDA garlic mustard website

MDA garlic mustard life cycle and treatment info sheet

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357 Hits