City of Duluth Mobilizing Public to Fight Invasive Species

Updated: July 09, 2019 10:43 PM

The City of Duluth is hoping to mobilize the public to help fight against an invasive species. 

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Wednesday evening, the city is organizing a public removal of the wild parsnip along the western waterfront trail. Wild parsnip is an invasive plant and the city says it is also a public health concern. 

"It is one of those plants that is kind of similar to poison ivy," Lori Steele, coordinator of the Duluth Invasive Species Management Area said. "If you come in contact with it, you will get some bad burns."

Touching the plan without protective gear can cause a painful rash and blistering. The invasive plant is commonly found along roads and can spread to many places like trails. 

Steele says the invasive species started spreading about a year ago. So far, it has been found along the western waterfront trail, munger bike path, the lakewalk and continues to spread throughout the city. 

"People should be aware of this plant. Even though we have some locations mapped it, it can pop up at any place."

Seele says even though this invasive species can spread fast, she believes a community-wide approach to tackle it can stop its spread. She says the public needs to be aware of the plant and report it when they come across it. 

Wild parsnip spreads through seeds. It can spread while moving. 

The public is being asked to help remove the wild parsnip along the Western Waterfront Trail on July 10, from 6 - 8 pm. Attendees must wear long-sleeved clothing, pants, and closed toed shoes.

Protective equipment, tools, and instruction will be provided. Volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot at the end of Spring Street in Riverside and look for signs that will be posted. 

The exercise is hosted by the City of Duluth in partnership with the Duluth Collaborative Invasive Species Management Area, and the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) through a grant funded by the MDA.

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