Tragic Reminder, Invasive Aquatic Weeds Can Kill

A number of people die each year tangled in the massive weed beds these plants produce.  In one case recently in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota a young man died tangled in these weeds trying to retrieve a soccer ball.  Not only did he drown, the authorities could not find his body in the thick weed growth for a number of days and they knew where he went down.  These plants are a danger and this needs to be factored into the thinking when control efforts are considered.  The link below will take you to an article on this event.  Please take a minute to review the video clip that goes with the story as well.  One picture is worth a thousand words.

http://wcco.com/local/local_story_178141749.html

http://wcco.com/local/local_story_175204045.html

Regional Eurasian Milfoil Control Plan

King County, Washington is the home to Seattle and a number of large and small lakes.  Many of the lakes in this increasingly urbanized area are suffering the impacts of development and noxious aquatic weeds.  The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks has for many years taken a lead in the management of these water resources. 

King County lakes were among the first in Washington to bear the brunt of the Eurasian Milfoil infestations in the Pacific Northwest.  Lake Washington is a 22,000 acre system that was infested with this weed in the late 1970’s.  Since that time many lakes in the County have suffered the impacts of this noxious weed. 

Aquatechnex and Envirovision were hired by the County in 2002 to develop a Regional Eurasian Milfoil Management Program.  This document and it’s appendices have helped these lake communities develop control programs that work.  As this weed is expanding elsewhere in the region, this plan may have applications for others starting to undertake this task.

The plan can be downloaded from the County Website at: http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/waterres/smlakes/kcmilfoilplan.htm

Spotlight on A.E.R.F.

This week we would like to spotlight the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation or AERF.  This group has undertaken a mission the US Government used to fund full time.  From their web site:

“Invasive aquatic vegetation degrades water quality, causing health problems for people, loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, and a decrease in property values. It also impacts recreational activities. Although traditional management techniques and tools are available, there is a pressing need to develop new strategies and refine existing ones that can selectively control these aggressive weeds in an environmentally compatible fashion.

Technological improvements can only be achieved through competent and sustainable research and development (R&D) programs. In the past, the federal government has played the prominent role in maintaining a coalition of research scientists, natural resource agencies, academic institutions, and private sector interests for studying and managing nuisance aquatic and wetland vegetation. However, significant reductions in agency funded R&D programs have created a technological void while invasive aquatic and riparian weeds continue to spread and cause grave environmental damage.  The AERF was formed to fill this void.”

Please take a minute to review their web site on our blogroll to the right.  You should consider joining this organization and you may also benefit from their publications, pay special attention to the Best Management Practices Publication you can download from this site.  

Milfoil Diver Seminar this Week in Sandpoint

AquaTechnex will be hosting a diver seminar for those interested in learning about the control of Eurasian Milfoil using this technology.  We were among the pioneers of this technique in the early 1980’s performing demonstration projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers Aquatic Plant Control Research program. 

The objective of this seminar is to identify those in the north Idaho region that have an interest in pursuing this line of effort.  The State of Idaho will be providing funding for these efforts and it is critical to the success of the program that there be divers locally interested in pitching in.

The meeting will be at the Sandpoint Community Center at 7 pm on Thursday April 19th.  If interested please show up.  For more information on this technique see below.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/management/

Starting them Young

One of the major issues facing aquatic plant managers today is the lack of knowledge and understanding about what we do in the general public.  It’s hard for those that don’t live on the water or are involved in fishing/boating to understand the impact invasive aquatic weeds can have on a waterbody because they don’t see and live with it every day.  When you think about it, that is the vast majority of the population. 

It’s often the case that the only effective method of dealing with these invasive species are US EPA approved aquatic herbicides.  While these products are fully cleared by this agency to be applied to water without undo risk to humans or the environment, they often grab headlines and the general public does not get the information they need.

A few years back, the Aquatic Plant Management Society published a workbook to be used in the 4th through 7th grade to expose students to the environmental damage caused by these pests.  This text has been used in schools throughout the Country and I believe in excess of 250,000 of these have been passed out.  As the keeper of the “pallet” for the Western Aquatic Plant Management Society, I wanted to be sure those of you involved in education knew this resource was available. 

You can view this document at the link below.  If you want copies to use, contact me at terry@aquatechnex.com for the Western US or visit the links on the page below.

http://www.apms.org/activity.htm

Eradication of Invasive Aquatic Weeds, Can it Happen?

This is often a topic our clients ask us about when they undertake a control program focusing on Eurasian Milfoil or one of the other invasive plant species that plague their lakes. At last week’s Western Aquatic Plant Management Society Meeting (www.wapms.org) Kathy Hamel of the Washington Department of Ecology presented an interesting paper on this subject. She highlighted a number of successful eradication efforts that have been conducted in Washington State. Our firm was responsible for the implementation of most of those programs. Read more

Beware Golden Algae

One of the more alarming issues I have seen lately at national and regional lake and aquatic plant management meetings is the expanding problem of Golden Algae.  Prymnesium parvum is the scientific name of this species of single celled aquatic plants.  This algae produces a toxin that is extremely deadly to fish.  When conditions allow this algae to expand to a bloom condition in the lake, the toxins release result in the rapid death of large numbers of fish.  Fish kills attributed to the presence of this species are filling the media in states like Texas and Arizona.  This species is gradually spreading west.  It was reported in Arizona in 2005 and fish kills have been reported there. Read more