Archive for Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lake weeds cause argument on chemical control

Richard Sanders, district fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, talks about the growth of curly leaf pond weed at Lone Star Lake that has some residents, boaters and fishing enthusiasts annoyed. In years past Douglas County officials have allowed a herbicide be sprayed to kill the weed, which Sanders said can provide a nice habitat for fish. The County Commission will decide tonight whether to authorize spraying this year.

Richard Sanders, district fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, talks about the growth of curly leaf pond weed at Lone Star Lake that has some residents, boaters and fishing enthusiasts annoyed. In years past Douglas County officials have allowed a herbicide be sprayed to kill the weed, which Sanders said can provide a nice habitat for fish. The County Commission will decide tonight whether to authorize spraying this year.

May 13, 2009

To spray or not to spray at Lone Star Lake.

That’s the question facing Douglas County Commissioners tonight.

For three years, the spring crop of curly leaf pond weed has been an issue at the lake southwest of Lawrence.

Lone Star Lake Association members who own cabins on the lake’s southwestern side have paid to have the county’s public works department spray a herbicide called Aquathol-K in shallow water around their boat docks.

Barbara Barnhill, the association’s president, said the spring weeds make it difficult on boat motors and could present a safety issue.

“We realize that there are conservationists who feel like we should not do anything, but it has not been going away,” Barnhill said.

In past years, environmentalists and some fishing enthusiasts have objected to spraying the lake because the weeds provide cover for spawn. Ned Kehde, an area fisherman, said that when the water warms up in the summer the weeds go away.

“I don’t see any reason for doing it,” Kehde said.

The previous County Commission had allowed the herbicide as long as the association picked up the bill of less than $1,000.

This year, cabin owners are asking commissioners to overrule a directive from county administration not to spray the herbicide. And Richard Sanders, a district fisheries biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, has recommended the county not apply Aquathol-K to see how the lake reacts after three years of treatment.

In a memo to commissioners, Keith Browning, the county public works director, said a recent federal court ruling was causing states to rethink the practice of applying aquatic herbicides.

In addition, the face of the three-member County Commission has changed. Jim Flory and Nancy Thellman won seats in the November election, and Mike Gaughan in April replaced Charles Jones, who resigned to concentrate more on his job at Kansas University.

The meeting begins at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

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