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Milfoil in the Northwest In Northern Idaho weed infestations of lakes rivers and streams have been increasing over the last few years Doug Freeland is the Northern Idaho expert on a particular type of underwater weed milfoil that is rapidly spreading through many freshwater sources in Idaho as well as the rest of North America Freelands expertise has been used by Idaho counties Washington counties and the US Forest Service on the particularly nasty weed Eurasian milfoil or formally Myriophyllum Spicatum L comes from the Latin mille and foille meaning thousand leaf This is an accurate description of the weed from a thin stem that rises from the bottom of lakes or rivers many small delicate green leaves about 2 to 5 inches in length emerge The stem can continue to grow to the surface of the water and bloom a small flower above the surface for pollination Eurasian milfoil spreads and grows quickly like dandelions in a lawn but milfoil presents more of a problem than an eyesore In some Washington lakes and streams milfoil is a leading killer of native underwater plant life and native fish Milfoils chemical processes are poisonous to most fish that try to feed on the plant and other plants cannot compete with its rapid growth Milfoil has caused even more problems though Swimmers have become tapped and drowned in some thickly grown infestations in Western Washington Obviously milfoil has become an ecological and safety issue over the past few years Doug Freeland has been heading the battle in Northern Idaho to control the weed Milfoil spread is due mostly to humans because boat bottoms boat motors fishing equipment and other water craft catch the milfoil spores or pieces of milfoil and can easily spread the weed to a different body of water There is a possibility of natural spreading of the weed for example spores could attach to the bottom of a duck that flies to
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