Rain Delays McDill Pond Milfoil Treatment
By Jacob Mathias
Multiple heavy rains in recent weeks have delayed the treatment of McDill Pond for Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive species that threatens the health of the pond.
“Noah’s ark started and the rains began,” said Lake District President Jack Negaard. “We have not had a break from the rain for more than 48 hours…the difficult thing for us is when it rains up north, if we get a couple days that are dry, we’re still waiting for the rain up north to come down and flush through the system.”
The recent rains, especially in northern Wisconsin, are increasing the flow rate of water through McDill Pond which would wash away the chemical treatment, rendering it useless as it needs about 24 hours to take hold.
Negaard said there is currently more than twice as much water flowing through McDill than the treatment can handle.
“We’re just going to have to sit tight until our flow rates go down and then nail it,” said Negaard.
The McDill Lake District had scheduled May 27 for Schmidt’s Aquatics, an Iola-based company specializing in aquatic plant control, to chemically treat 30 acres of McDill pond with a chemical called diquat- an herbicide which reduces growth of the watermilfoil.
“What it does is put a sudden surge into the plant that causes it to go through a sudden growth and then it causes the plan to collapse and die,” said Krista Olson, Lake District resident and former secretary. “It’s the same as what you have for chemicals used in your lawns.”
The next projected date for treatment is Thursday, June 12, but newly forecast rain may put a damper on that.
The delay in treatment is also stalling the annual weed harvesting of McDill, meaning weeds can’t be harvested until after treatment: the milfoil spreads quickly in water when it’s cut, because the pieces sink to the bottom, take root and continue growing again.
“Pretty soon you can quickly fill up the whole area of a lake with this plant that chokes out the water,” said Olson. “When it starts choking out the water you can’t get the fish to swim through, you can’t boat, you can’t do anything because of the amount of the plant material.”
Notices of the treatment date will be posted around the Lake District.
The next Lake District meeting is September 15 at 6:30 PM at Ben Franklin Junior High School.