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This from the Owatonna Peoples Press.

They are using removal and chemical methods to control

Pond Weed.

Some Hype - and also some give and take by the DNR.

Good Work Jacquelyn !

Curly-leaf pondweed: Owatonna Parks and Recreation will use chemicals to treat Lake Kohlmier


OWATONNA - Come spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will once again allow Owatonna Parks and Recreation to use chemical treatments to fight the spread of curly-leaf pondweed in Lake Kohlmier.

Since the city acquired the lake in the early 1990s, Parks and Recreation staff have been using aquathol granular to fight curly-leaf pondweed, a nuisance plant that clutters the shore and grows in stalks as tall as 12 feet high in the water.

Jacquelyn Bacigalupi, a habitat specialist at the DNR's Rochester office, first noticed that Lake Kohlmier was classified as a "natural environmental lake" in early spring of 2007. Lakes with this classification cannot be chemically treated to prevent weed growth.

"For whatever reason it wasn't noticed [that Lake Kohlmier was classified as a natural environmental lake]," Bacigalupi said. "In any case, after the realization that [Lake Kohlmier] fell into that category, we asked the City of Owatonna if it was feasible to say no herbicide."

Bacigalupi said the city didn't think it was reasonable to nix the chemical treatment because of the swimming beach, which draws a large crowd in summer. Jeff McKay, the Director of Owatonna Parks and Recreation, said 25,000 swimmers visited the lake last year.

Curly-leaf pondweed is an invasive species of aquatic vegetation that grows under ice packs in winter. Bacigalupi said ice fishers often catch their hooks on the plant's long tendrils.

Curly-leaf tolerates low light and low temperatures, which gives it an early growing season and an advantage over more sensitive native plants. Unlike many native species which start growing in summer, curly-leaf is ready to go in spring and dies out in July.

When live, the plant grows in dense mats on the lake's surface that make swimming uncomfortable and slimy.

"It's very thick and people don't like swimming in that, it's just not a comfortable situation," McKay said. "And, it can be a safety hazard as well. If a child gets tangled up in the weeds they could drown. We've had to make rescues out on the lake, where kids have taken out canoes and kayaks and gotten tangled up."

From an ecological standpoint, curly-weed provides some habitat for fish, but the die-off in July may result in a critical loss of dissolved oxygen, according to the DNR. In addition, the rotting plants increase the nutrient content of the lake, which can cause algea blooms.

Bacigalupi said aquathol granular only affects curly-leaf because the chemical treatment starts in late May and native plants don't start growing until June or July.

"No native species are present at the time and they use it at a dose that doesn't affect others species," Bacigalupi said.

Because of this, the DNR has issued the city a variance to allow the use of aquathol granular. Bacigalupi said in exchange for the variance, the city plans to do some shoreline restoration and plant native prairie grasses and flowers around the lake.

"They're going to do some neat things with planting and native vegetation," Bacigalupi said. "The prairie grass and flowers will serve as habitat for small critters and a butterfly garden, and will also slow run-off."

McKay said Parks and Recreation will begin mechanically harvesting the weed in early May and then start with the chemical treatments.

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It's good that they are able to get that stuff under control,it makes fishing very difficult, especially for those that fish from shore, which is the majority of those that fish it.T be able to cast beyond the matted weedline is possible, but draging a fish back through it is tough. I know that bass are C&R only (I wonder how often that's adhered to), but I wish the pike & wallyes were protected too. It would give kids & others that don't have the means to go out of town, a better opportunity to catch quality fish, since it's their only option other than the Straight River. Doesn't Eagle Lake by Mankato have something like that?


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