Minnetonka Bays Become Milfoil Battegrounds

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Exerpt from KARE11 Minneapolis, MN:

Minnetonka bays become milfoil battegrounds

A strange boat patrolled Lake Minnetonka’s Grays Bay Wednesday morning. It was not taking fish out of the lake. It was putting something in.

Executive Director Dick Osgood of the non-profit Lake Minnetonka Association stood and watched from the Gray’s Bay public access. “We applied herbicides to kill milfoil and pond weed, another exotic plant.”

Patrick Selter of Pequot Lakes’ Professional Lake Management Company kept a close eye on small white craft with large chemical tanks mounted on its deck. “We’re using tricopere out here with is selective to Eurasian water milfoil or its species.”

For the first time, two specific plant killers have been spread across entire bays on the metro area’s largest lake. Previously, small test areas were tried in 2006. On Tuesday, the boat used a special applicator that deposits the chemicals a foot under the surface.

A computerized GPS system guided the dispersal of the chemicals, adjusting the rate of application by the speed of the boat. The idea was to nip the lake-clogging milfoil and pond weed, which are early bloomers, in the bud.

Osgood explained. “The other plants haven’t, the other native plants, haven’t come up yet and therefore after the application, the chemical will dissipate and these plants will come in unimpeded.”

Osgood and Selter insist that the treatment will not harm the native plants, nor fish, nor wildlife. This particular battle in Minnesota’s continuing war on Eurasian milfoil is costing $180,000 this year alone. 75% of that is being ante-ed up by people who live along the lake. They are the members of the Lake Minnetonka Association.

Grays, Carmen and Phelps Bays got the initial dose this year. They are considered to be the bays with the worst milfoil problems. They will each get “booster” shots for the next four years. By then, other of Minnetonka’s 14 bays may be added to the project. It is hoped they will become a model of de-milfoiling for the future.

Osgood is optimistic. “We hope to expand the treatment as the years go on because this we think is think is the better treatment over all.”

Professional Lake Management is currently treating a dozen Minnesota lakes for Eurasian milfoil infestation. 15 to 30 other lakes are being treated for other contaminations.

By Allen Costantini, KARE 11 News

Read Allen’s KAREmudgeon Blog


(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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