Wisconsin targets invasive plants along Mississippi River in cleanup project

LA CROSSE, Wis. — A work crew is spending a week on a Mississippi River island to eradicate invasive plants and poison ivy as part of a state and federal effort to clean up beaches along the waterway.

The WisCorps conservation team is working with the Wisconsin DNR to clear up nearly 20 beaches between La Crosse and Brownsville, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The effort is a joint venture of the department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to public complaints about brush and weeds at campsites.

“There’s nowhere to be in the shade where you’re not in poison ivy,” said Sara Strassman, Mississippi River planner for the department. “There’s poison ivy at almost every spot.”

The 7-person crew will use chain saws, loppers and herbicide to get rid of the unwanted plants. The department is paying WisCorps $5,000 for the work.

Once their week on the island is complete, the crew will go on to tackle other projects around the state, such as trail maintenance at the La Crosse County landfill site, building a bridge in Rock County and creating a water trail on the Willow River.

About 200 teens and young adults serve on crews doing conservation and community revitalization work each year, said WisCorps operations director Willie Bittner.

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