Whadda you think...the Milfoil infestation???

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Whadda you think...the Milfoil infestation???

Postby widgeon1013 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:47 pm

So I was wondering if anyone else is wondering about the current Milfoil debate going on in N. Idaho....My question/concern is about the herbicide that they are planning to dump into the waterways...I do not claim to be a wildlife biologist, however, it seems to me that if you continually dump chemicals into an ecosystem we can not help but to impact those species that live within...so what I am wondering if this does happen (the dumping of chemicals consistently and continually) what will the long-term effects be on species including local waterfowl and the food which they require (e.g., plant and animal matter)....I would think that overtime they would either have a) less food or b) tainted food sources....Also, what about other more sustainable long-term options (e.g., harvesting the Milfoil)... it seems that dumping any additional chemicals to our watersources is a frightening proposition....What do ya'll think???

Hope everyone has a great 4th!!

Dennison
"There is always one more river not to cross, but to follow" ~ E. Abbey
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Postby jjohnson_714 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:32 pm

i have mixed feelings on it... im not overly fond of them dumping in the chemicals, however we need to get them under control... even in the past year or two there has been a really noticeable difference with how much milfoil there is in the water... its just spreading everywhere... so im just going to have to trust that they have done their research, and whatever they dump in isnt going to kill everything in the lake off...
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Postby HaydenHunter » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:01 am

widgeon,

I live on a shallow and weedy end of Hayden Lake; between that and hunting I have seen and dealt with a lot of milfoil.

On Hayden, a combination of techniques are used to combat milfoil. In lightly infested areas, diver pulling is used. Milfoil cannot be mechanically harvested, because the smallest fragment (and I mean tiny) can start a new plant. Diver pulling is practical in areas with steep shorelines, since milfoil only grows to a certain depth and infestation is light. Divers gently pull the plant out roots and all, then vacuum it up to a surface boat via a hose and pump arrangement.

The shallow areas, where milfoil can grow into a thick, choking mat is where herbicide treatment is really the only alternative. As far as Hayden Lake is concerned, the EPA has limited spraying to 85 acres over the last five or six years. There are hundreds of acres thickly infested. Therefore every bad area gets a kiss and a promise every few years...the herbicide works well...while fragments increase the milfoil density in other areas of the lake exponentially. Boat props are the main culprit in the dicing up of milfoil strands and they do a very efficient job. This provides the possibility for every single plant to spawn hundreds of new plants.

The herbicides used are as far as I know specific for certain plant types and do not kill off all the plants in the lake. Nor have I ever seen a fish kill, a dead bird or any other indication that wildlife is harmed. Overall I think it is very safe.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that the milfoil problem on the Pend Oreille River is getting much worse. Downstream in Washington it is critical. At this point, herbicide seems to be the only answer. The state of Idaho has recognized this and has budgeted millions of dollars for spraying and diver pulling. The battle has been stepped up on Hayden Lake and we had spraying of a much larger lake area last week. It's business as usual over the 4th of July.
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Postby HaydenHunter » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:11 am

Last comment: 2-4-D and other herbicides are not natrual to the ecosystem, but neither is milfoil. You can thank some jerk who years ago emptied out an aquarium somewhere, for that is what Eurasian Watermilfoil is...an aquarium plant. You can also thank people who pull their boats and trailers out of a highly infested area, do not clean them, and infest new lakes with the fragments they transplant around. That is how Hayden and Spirit Lakes have wound up with milfoil.
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Postby GanderCommander1 » Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:05 am

HH, good info on the milfoil problem over on Hayden. Do you know if the State has any signs posted at the launches about cleaning the boat/prop so as not to transfer it to other waters?
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Postby HaydenHunter » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:36 pm

It is posted at all take outs in Kootenai County at least. Unfortunately, no one reads anything posted. You see people doing all sorts of things that are clearly prohibited with big signage at the ramps...such as power loading of boats, etc.

Gander Commander, do you have experience with 2-4-D in your line of work, and if so, do you have anything to say about it?

Happy 4th to you and the family.
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Postby GanderCommander1 » Tue Jul 04, 2006 6:32 pm

I haven't been involved with any aquatic weed control for over 25 years and am not totally aware of what formulations of chemicals are used today. 2-4-D and other herbicides used for broadleaf weed control in turf are extremely safe when it is applied properly and at the label rate. It is absorbed by the plant and soon degraded by microbial activity, etc. Many products labeled for ponds/lakes years ago have been banned. Killed alot of weed along with alot of other things. I understand that 2-4-D can also be applied in a granular form for milfoil control and research has been ongoing for some type of biological controls. One question I have is how do they alert the public about applications made to Hayden Lake and what warnings come with that?
Hope everyone has a great 4th and be safe. I plan to stay at home and am in the process of wrapping some mallard and honker breast chunks with bacon. The meat has been marinating since last night and will soon go on the grill to a medium rare doneness. I can only hope that they turn out half as good as that prepared by HaydenHunter. If I only had some coot!
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Postby HaydenHunter » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:18 am

Notification is made once, maybe twice, by mail to all waterfront property owners. Then notices are stapled to every private dock and posted conspicuously at boat launches and public docks. This happens a few days before spraying begins.

Restrictions are placed on those who pull drinking water from the lake, but there are no swimming restrictions (even though I don't think I would swim around right after application). I don't think there are any restrictions on taking fish from the lake after application.
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Washing stations and weevils...

Postby widgeon1013 » Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:45 pm

Howdy -

Thanks guys for all the info...I too hope that the "powers to be" have done their research...As far as the question on "washing boats off etc" I read something regarding 'washing stations' being placed in key areas where the milfoil probably is not as prominent. It makes sense to me to utilize two of the natural means to be more proactive v/s reactive on the big lake...Sure the problem is here. I think the reality is we need to be more proactive now that is here...So what about placing these washing stations at boat ramps on and around Sandpoint...?? And using the weevil once we nail is with the pesticides...I do not think they are metioning doing this - or are they?


Thanks,
Dennison
"There is always one more river not to cross, but to follow" ~ E. Abbey
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