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Eurasian
Watermilfoil

(Myriophyllum spicatum)

WHITE POTATO LAKE GRANT AND DONATION UPDATE

In 2018 WPL (White Potato Lake) first discovered EWM (Eurasian Water Milfoil) on the north shore. With financial grants from the Wisconsin DNR, Oconto County Healthy Water Cost Share Program, and the combined efforts of the Lake Advancement Association and the Sportsmen’s Club forming the WPL Management Committee, we have succeeded in limiting the spread of EWM through hand harvesting and mechanical suctioning. Unfortunately, the infestation of this invasive weed has created a problem beyond conventional harvesting techniques within the Walkers Bay Lagoon.

 

On January 28th the WPLMC (White Potato Lake Management Committee) through the letterhead umbrella of the White Potato Lake Sportsmen’s Club was awarded a 2 year $24,195 DNR Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) grant to aid us in a herbicide treatment of the lagoon, as well as for continued conventional harvesting, pretreatment survey and dosing strategy, DNR herbicide treatment permits, DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting) permits, EWM mapping surveys, sub-ample Point -Intercept Surveys and 2 year monitoring analysis.  This grant represents 75% of Onterra’s projected $32,261 cost estimate. We have also secured a $3,642 grant from the Oconto County Land and Water Conservation department in October, a $500 award from OCLAWA (Oconto County Lakes and Waterways Association), and $600 from the Town of Brazeau. We are currently evaluating four herbicide applicator bids who must be licensed to use ProcellaCORE in the lagoon, tentatively scheduled for late spring/early summer pending water temperature and plant growth.

 

These grants and awards help to offset the extensive costs of fighting EWM, Purple Loosestrife, and several other invasive species that threaten the aquatic integrity of WPL. Continued financial support in the form of the GO FUND ME PAGE or donations to the WPLMC either through the Sportsmen’s Club or the Lake Association are encouraged to maintain our beautiful lake.

 

Respectfully submitted by

WPLMC Co-Chair Bob Wittmann

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What is eurasian watermilfoil

Appearance

Eurasian watermilfoil is a rooted, submerged aquatic plant. The leaves appear green while the stems are white to reddish.

Leaves and Stem

Leaves are feather-like, with four leaves arranged in a whorl (radiating out from a single point) around the stem. Space between whorls along the stem can be a half inch or greater. Each leaf has a central axis with 12 to 21 leaflet pairs. Leaflets are limp when the plant is removed from the water. The stem is typically light brown, but sometimes pink. Tips of the plant are sometimes red or pink in color. Color alone should not be used for identification as it can be highly variable.

Flowers

A small pink flower spike up to four inches long produces tiny yellow flowers. Male and female flowers are found on the same plant.

Seeds

Even though each plant can produce approximately 100 seeds per season, this species is more successful at reproducing via fragments.

Roots

Roots are thin, white, and sometimes form dense clumps underneath the plant.

Biology

Eurasian watermilfoil is a perennial plant that flowers twice a year, usually in mid-June and late-July. It can grow up to 20 feet tall, but typically only grows three to nine feet tall. It creates canopy-like structures as it grows toward the water’s surface. It primarily establishes through vegetative fragmentation—a fragment can break off, settle in the sediment, grow roots, and establish a new plant. The plant dies back in the fall, but the root system can survive the winter and begin growing again in the spring.

Origin and Spread

Eurasian watermilfoil is native to Europe and Asia. It was discovered in the eastern United States in the early 1900s. The species was likely introduced and spread through the movement of watercraft and water-related equipment. In Minnesota, it was first recorded in Lake Minnetonka (Hennepin County) in 1987. Refer to the infested waters list for current distribution.

What can we do to stop it!?

Fortunately, we are one of the last lakes in our area to get EWM. Other lakes around Wisconsin have had it for years, and have paved the way for how to deal with EWM and other invasive species. Taking care of EWM on paper sounds easy, as it requires pulling the weed from its roots. In practice however, it is rather difficult as it involves special equipment, trained divers to do the work, and it is a never ending process. Did we mention it was expensive? Watch the video below to hear how Eagle river is dealing with this problem.

 

The Lake Association, Sportsman's club, and White Potato Lake Management Committee were able to fund the first round of treatment. Even with securing grants from the state, the three organizations have announced that they will not have the funds to pay for the ongoing treatment. 

Where do we go from here? After talking to the DNR, experts and other lakes, the path leads to forming a Lake District to handle these types of threats to our lake. Fund raisers, launch fees, and other methods have been tried by other lakes; with the majority of these efforts were not able to raise the funds required to deal with the problem. To learn more about forming a Lake District and Frequently asked questions, click the button below. 

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