DNR seeks volunteers
The battle has begun. Volunteers are being sought to grab their waders, rakes and buckets and head to 11th Crow Wing Lake Saturday morning to "attack" an invasive exotic species, curly-leaf pondweed. Area lake association members are being asked ...
The battle has begun.
Volunteers are being sought to grab their waders, rakes and buckets and head to 11th Crow Wing Lake Saturday morning to "attack" an invasive exotic species, curly-leaf pondweed.
Area lake association members are being asked to participate in the initiative, beginning at 10 a.m. at Crow Wing Crest Lodge. Curly-leaf pondweed has now been found on both the north and south shores of the lake's eastern basin.
Removal measures are expected to continue each Saturday in May.
"The bottom line is we need all the help we can get to slow it down," said Doug Kingsley of the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries. "There's no hope of stopping it. Our best method is raking to get the rhizomes," he explained.
Nine sites have been identified on the lake.
Curly-leaf pondweed is a submersed, rooted aquatic plant that's not native to North America.
Its unique life cycle, which begins in the winter, gives it an edge, Kingsley said. By spring, it's at maximum growth.
Many forms of pondweed are desirable for fish habitat, adding oxygen and filtering nutrients, Kingsley explained.
But curly-leaf pondweed can form dense mats, causing a nuisance to boaters, and may also replace native vegetation. It generally grows in 3 to 10 feet of water.
The plant reproduces mainly by its winter buds. A single plant can produce more than 900 winter buds in one growing season and each bud produces a new plant.
These buds can be carried by water currents to new locations in the water body.
"Our concern is 11th Crow Wing is near the head of the watershed," Kingsley said. "There's a good chance it will spread downstream."
Eradication measures must be done early in the season before turions develop, generally by the end of May, Kingsley said of the "labor intensive" initiative.
The only other option is chemical control, he explained.
But it comes with a considerable price tag - $280 per acre plus permit fees. Portage Lake residents are spending $15,000 a year to keep the pernicious weed at bay. Portage residents have been treating the weed since 2002.
Information on the Portage Lake initiative may be found at www.peteport.com/ portage.
"As with any exotic, once you get it, it's there," Kingsley said. "Eradication is difficult, if not impossible."
For more information on the 11th Crow Wing curly-leaf pondweed removal initiative, call Kim or John Bowen at Crow Wing Crest Lodge, 652-3111.