By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN The Winsted Lake Watershed Association reviewed the most recent GPS mapping of Winsted Lake’s curly leaf pondweed at its December meeting, showing the chemical treatment done this spring to reduce the invasive weed had been successful.
A total of 99.6 acres of curly leaf pondweed in Winsted Lake in 2007 has been reduced to 85 acres. Winsted Lake is 376 acres in total size.
According to the lake association president Bev Schmitz and vice president Dale Maus, no one had expected to see such significant results in just one year.
“I believe it was a combination of the chemical treatment, and Mother Nature who blessed us with a snow pack on the ice for a number of months. It helped curtail the weed,” Maus said.
The reduction in the curly leaf weed has been noticed by the people living around the lake and those who use the lake for fishing and boating.
“We always do lakeshore cleanup the first weekend in May, and I am always on the lake,” Maus said. “Last year (2007), we basically could not do lakeshore cleanup. You couldn’t drive a motor or even walk a boat through there. This year was not a problem at all.”
Even with the success of this year’s treatment of the invasive weed, the lake association is concerned with the remaining large concentration of the weed spreading if left unchecked.
Lake Restoration of Rogers told the lake association it takes about four years of treatment to see diminished concentrations of curly leaf pondweed because the seed (turions) from the curly leaf can lay in the bottom of the lake for five to 10 years.
“In my eyes, last year’s treatment was really a waste of our money if we don’t treat for the next three years,” Maus said.
With the rest of the association in agreement, the next steps will be to get permission from the DNR to chemically treat the lake in the spring of 2009 and to work out the funding for the project.
Last spring, the total cost of treatment was $15,604.
Onshore owners (approximately eight acres) paid $2,764; the lake association contributed $4,086; and the City of Winsted contributed $8,754 (of which $1,957 was its own onshore expense).
For treatment in the spring of 2009, the total cost to treat Winsted Lake has increased to $17,653, due mostly to the rising cost of the chemical needed.
The lake association is proposing onshore owners (approximately eight acres) cover a cost of $3,100. The Winsted Lake Watershed Association would contribute $7,303, and it is hoping the City of Winsted will cover $7,250 (of which $2,000 is its onshore expense).
City Administrator Brent Mareck, who was at the lake association meeting, said the council would review the proposal at the Tuesday, Dec. 16 council meeting at 6 p.m.
Maus’ concern is that the city might turn the association down this year because of budget cuts being made to keep taxes down.
“I understand the economics of what is happening in the world,” Maus said. “Believe me, I understand the city’s position.”
“One of the things the association is challenged with is that we have some funds available, but we never have had a real need for those funds until now. We are going to have to figure out how to raise some funds for this association. We cannot continually have bills and say it is the City of Winsted’s responsibility.”
Member of the Winsted Lake Watershed Association Jan Cartwright has been gathering information needed to apply for a number of grants to help with expenses.
Maus said the grants would certainly help but the lake association needs to have plans in place so it is “self sustaining.” The grants could be considered a windfall.
Whatever the city decides, the lake association needs to know the answer by the end of December so that the members have time to figure out a plan on how to treat the lake.
Without the city’s help, the association might consider only treating sections of the lake, according to Maus.