It took nearly five years to create, but the Moose Jaw River Watershed Stewards finally have their first colony of Leafy Spurge Beetles in Wakamow Valley.
Every July, the Watershed Stewards along with volunteers catch Leafy Spurge Beetles in Besant Campground near Mortlach and take them down to Wakamow Valley.
At the last count, there were approximately 100 beetles in a 16-foot transect.
“We are very excited. Maybe it's a little weird that we're so excited about beetles, but I went out with the summer student to do a little sweep to see what we could find and we found actually quite a bit. We are all very pleasantly surprised. I know I was calling everyone at the office really excited,” said Moose Jaw River Watershed Steward Technician Stephanie Huel.
So, what makes the Leafy Spurge Beetles important to Wakamow Valley’s ecosystem? The insect primarily feeds on Leafty Spurge, which is an invasive weed.
According to Huel, Leafy Spurge can be found around Moose Jaw. It can spread very quickly and even conventional methods can’t control it.
“It's really important for us to establish these colonies and try to control it with biological methods and not using chemicals or some manual methods that don't really work overly well,” Huel said.
However, because one colony has been created doesn’t mean the watershed stewards will be stopping there.
“we'll continue putting beetles at our the current colony just to make sure it keeps on growing but we'll kind of slow down how much we put on this year. We did start putting more beetles in another area around Wakamow,” Huel explained.
“We put about 4,000 Beetles out there this July, and will again start doing that every year for about five years. And then we'll move on to the next spot.”
You can find out more about the Moose Jaw Watershed Stewards on their website.