Recall our success in treating HEWM-infested areas of Lost Land Lake with Reward herbicide in June of 2017 (click here to open new window for full story). The unexpected efficacy of treatment combined with healthy regrowth of desirable native plants in treated areas caused us to question the need for a previously discussed fund-raiser to buy and operate an Eco-Harvester to mechanically remove nuisance plants.
Also recall that several dense beds of Hybrid Eurasian Water Milfoil in Steamboat Bay were NOT treated in 2017 in order to save money and serve as a “control” of sorts to compare against treated areas in northern and western areas of Lost Land Lake. Due to cooler-than-normal weather in spring of 2017, all plants, including HEWM, got a late start and never reached the density observed in 2016. However, HEWM in Steamboat Bay did not go away. It remains now as the single largest potential source of plant fragments to be spread by man or beast to other parts of the lake (or lakes).
By majority vote, the QLIA Excom decided at our March 13, 2018 meeting to spend up to $5,000 (75% reimbursable under WDNR’s continuing grant authorization) to map Hybrid Eurasian Water Milfoil in Steamboat Bay and treat it with Reward herbicide in late spring before the long stems of HEWM “top out” and begin to lay across the surface where they would be highly vulnerable to fragmentation and translocation. In late summer, we will return to areas treated in both 2017 and 2018 to qualitatively evaluate the extent of regrowth by HEWM and recovery by desirable native plants.
If we learn that small, relatively inexpensive spot-treatments of HEWM on an infrequent basis by Reward herbicide actually controls our problem effectively, that may become the method of choice. However, if HEWM comes roaring back with a vengeance in formerly treated areas, or if native plants fail to continue their recovery, we may decide to proceed with private fund-raising and a grant request to buy an expensive (>$70,000) Eco-Harvester to control HEWM mechanically. This will be discussed at our summer 2018 General Membership meeting. We may know enough to decide by fall of 2018. Like the Federal Reserve, we are “data dependent.”