Thursday, April 19, 2012
DNR permits weed control in Chapman lakes
The DNR has issued a permit to the Chapman Lake Conservation Association to control up to 120 acres of Eurasian water milfoil in Big Chapman and Little Chapman lakes.
EW milfoil is a non-native plant that can interfere with boating and crowd out beneficial native plants.
Plans are to apply aquatic herbicide 2,4-D to selectively remove EW milfoil in hope of reducing its abundance and preventing its spread. A licensed commercial pesticide applicator will perform the treatment with some restrictions imposed by the DNR.
The DNR will cover a portion of the cost through its Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) Program. LARE funds are generated from a fee charged to boat owners.
The herbicide application must be completed before June 1. Early-season control of young EW milfoil plants is more effective than treating mature plants and is less likely to harm other native plants in the lake.
The DNR also is requiring the association to define how many acres of milfoil will be treated in manmade boating channels versus open-water areas. The DNR is more willing to permit herbicide treatments in manmade channels to improve boater access and less likely to allow aggressive treatments in so-called natural areas of a lake.
Although the DNR will allow the association to treat up to 120 acres, control beyond 50 acres in Big Chapman and 25 acres in Little Chapman outside manmade channels will require prior inspection by biologists.
"Aquatic plants, including milfoil, provide habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species," DNR fisheries biologist Jed Pearson said. "We want to make sure enough plants are present for fish after the herbicide application."
Biologists are especially interested in ensuring the abundant northern pike population in the Chapman lakes has enough aquatic plants for cover. A loss of cover could affect pike behavior, growth and reproduction, as well as pike fishing, Pearson said.
Jed Pearson, DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, (260) 244-6805.