CLWA suspends Eurasian watermilfoil treatment for 2020
On July 28 the CLWA executive committee made the difficult decision to cancel its plans to begin control of the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil in Crystal Lake this year.
The CLWA had completed thorough and complex preparations for this project over the past two years: carefully mapping the infestations, researching the various control techniques being used throughout the United States, selecting a licensed and highly recommended professional applicator, obtaining all required permits from the state of Michigan (EGLE), and contacting over 150 riparians whose property would be involved in order to obtain their written permissions. The treatment will include innovative aerial drone guided application, which insures placement accuracy and facilitates minimal product use.
The planned project was publicized widely in the local press and legal notices were placed in the Benzie County Record Patriot.
Despite this preparation – fully transparent and fully in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations – a local resident objected to the planned treatment and retained a Traverse City lawyer who contacted CLWA on June 23 (one day before the first treatment was scheduled) threatening legal action if it proceeded.
Consequently the June treatment was postponed as the CLWA made efforts to address the individual’s concerns and some misconceptions. No resolution was reached by late July, and the resident continued to threaten legal action.
The process for treating the milfoil is highly dependent on its growth cycle: to be fully effective, the first treatment must take place early in its summer growth, followed by a second treatment about a month later. Because of the delays caused by the legal dispute, the CLWA’s invasive species experts reluctantly concluded that it was now too late this year to begin the treatment process in order to obtain optimal results.
The CLWA takes its responsibility to "Protect Crystal Lake Now for Generations to Come" seriously. Our plan to treat invasive Eurasian watermilfoil is designed to do exactly that. There is danger in delaying treatment, as the plant can spread and hybridize, making it much more difficult and expensive to control.
The CLWA would like to thank all the property owners who provided their permission to treat the milfoil on their lakebeds and for all the support we have received from the community as a whole. Over the next months the CLWA will continue to monitor the invasives for spread and carry out DNA testing in regard to hybridization. It will be ready to undertake the necessary control treatment in 2021.