Purple Loosestrife Project
In 2009, the ARPOA Board committed to a five-year program to address purple loosestrife (an aggressive invasive plant) on the Au Sable Mainstream. The effort started with an inventory from Grayling to McMaster’s Bridge. In 2010, volunteers, in partnership with the DNR and Huron Pines, began digging and bagging purple loosestrife for disposal. The inventory was also extended to Parmalee Bridge.
In 2011, the first major volunteer event was held and in 2012, purple loosestrife leaf-eating beetles were raised and released in areas with the densest populations of plants. Digging efforts continued. The Au Sable River Watershed Committee joined the partnership to battle invasives in
the watershed and funded the release of thousands of beetles on the Mainstream and South Branch.
Every year since, at least one volunteer event has been held to remove purple loosestrife with hundreds of industrial bags full of roots and stems discarded. Education of the public also became a priority. 2018 will be the ninth year of the five-year project and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. However, thanks to dedicated ARPOA volunteers, the number of plants seems to be less every year making the hard work very well worthwhile.