As planned, four acres of the fast spreading invasive weed, hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM), were treated today in an operation that took about an hour and a half. While the treatment product dissipates fairly quickly, it can take a week to 10 days for the plants to die off. There is a 24-hour swimming advisory within 100 feet of treated areas.
HEWM can take over a lake, as some have found in our region. When left unchecked, this invasive species radically alters a lake for the worse. It curtails recreational activities like boating, swimming, fishing, destroys wildlife habitat and lowers property values.
The cost to treat the four acres today was defrayed by private donation to the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation. The lakefront property owners in those areas gave their permission. The application was done by licensed professionals with permits from the DNR/DEQ.
A survey last fall revealed there are some 20 acres of HEWM in the lake, but only four acres were treated today. This is because property owners can only give their permission to treat up to 250 foot off their shore. By establishing a special assessment district (SAD), treatment may be done anywhere in the lake that HEWM is found. The SAD also deals with the cost of the program through an assessment to lakefront property owners. Over 70% of lakefront property owners have signed petitions to establish a SAD. The Columbia Township Board of Trustees has voted to accept the petitions. Once the process of establishing the SAD is complete, treatment of the remaining weeds can take place. Because of the time it takes to set up the SAD, treatment will take place in 2016.
The cost to lakefront property owners will not exceed $85 per parcel in the first year. Other lakes discovered that the annual cost declines once the weeds are brought under control. Once HEWM finds its way into a lake, it can never be completely eradicated. But an effective treatment program controls it to great extent.
Today’s treatment and the establishing of the SAD is the work of the Clark Lake Invasive Species Committee, comprised of community volunteers.
Below is a map of the areas treated today.