Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

July 21, 2003

Area lakes confirmed infested with Eurasian Watermilfoil

Last week the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed the discovery of Eurasian watermilfoil in Howard Lake and three other lakes in Minnesota.

One of the other lakes was Mink, also in Wright County. Mink Lake is connected to Buffalo Lake where Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in 1999.

Although the DNR and lake associations from across the state have staged massive efforts to prevent the spread of milfoil, it seems apparent milfoil will continue to spread at a moderate to fast pace.

Personally, it's no surprise that Howard Lake has become infested with milfoil. Howard is a good fishing lake, and gets a lot of boating activity from a wide range water enthusiasts.

Basically, there are quite a few near by lakes that were already infested, and Howard, just like the rest of our area lakes, is getting more and more activity because of a booming western suburban population.

Now, the concerns become stopping the spread of milfoil to other lakes in our area like Dog, Ida and Dutch and controlling the milfoil on Howard.

In some cases, Eurasian watermilfoil can almost takeover a lake with thick mats that making fishing, boating, and water recreation difficult.

One angler recently noted to me that he gave up trying to fish Lake Washington in Meeker County, because the milfoil just made it too difficult to get around the lake.

Will that happen on Howard? Probably not, milfoil can be controlled and the quality of the resource Howard lake provides is of great concern to many people.

Big and Little Waverly Lakes are infested with milfoil and those lakes still provide excellent water recreation and fishing resources.

What concerns me more is the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil to other small lakes in our area. Compared to Mary, Dog, Ida, and Dutch Howard is pretty a good-sized lake. If these smaller lakes get infested and milfloil really takes over, any type of water recreation could become difficult.

The key is prevention, if you're boating, make sure that your boat, trailer, live well, bait buckets and etc. are completely free of any type of vegetation.

Included with this column is information from the DNR on Eurasian watermilfoil and a list of lakes in our area that are infested.

Finally, the Lake Mary in Wright County listed as being infested with milfoil is not the Lake Mary located a few miles north of Winsted.

The effects of Eurasian watermilfoil

From the DNR

The Harmful Exotic Species Program maintains an Infested Waters List of all water bodies known to have milfoil and other harmful exotics.

The infested lakes list is also printed in the DNR Fishing Regulations every year.

What is Eurasian watermilfoil and why is it a problem?

Eurasian watermilfoil is a submersed exotic aquatic plant that was inadvertently introduced to Minnesota. Milfoil was first discovered in Lake Minnetonka during the fall of 1987.

Eurasian watermilfoil can limit recreational activities on water bodies by forming mats on the water surface, and alter aquatic ecosystems by displacing native plants.

What can be done to control Eurasian Watermilfoil?

Milfoil can be controlled using aquatically approved herbicides or by mechanical means, such as a harvester or cutter. The DNR Aquatic Plant Management Program regulates the control of aquatic plants.

In most cases a permit from the DNR is required to control aquatic plants, including milfoil. The DNR publication, "A Guide to Aquatic Plants" provides information about aquatic plants and how and when to obtain a permit to destroy them.

What can be done to prevent the spread of Eurasian Watermilfoil?

Milfoil is spread from one body of water to another primarily by the introduction of plant fragments. A milfoil fragment only a few inches long can form roots and grow into a new plant.

The most important action that you can take to limit the spread of milfoil and other aquatic exotic plants is to remove all vegetation from your watercraft before you move it from one body of water to another.

Area lakes that are infested:

Carver County: Lake Ann, Auburn Lake, Bavaria Lake, Firemen's Lake, Lotus Lake, Lake Minnewashta, Pierson Lake, Riley Lake, Schultz Lake, Steiger Lake, Stone Lake, Lake Virginia, Lake Waconia, Lake Zumbra, Eagle Lake, Parley Lake, and Wasserman Lake.

Hennepin County: Arrowhead Lake, Bass Lake, Brownie Lake, Bryant Lake, Bush Lake, Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, Christmas Lake, Dutch Lake, Eagle Lake, Fish Lake, Forest Lake, Gleason Lake, Lake Harriet, Hiawatha Lake, Lake Independence, Lake of the Isles, Libbs Lake, Little Long Lake, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Minnehaha Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Niccum's Pond, Lake Nokomis, Parker's Lake, Peavy Lake, Lake Rebecca, Rice Lake, Round Lake, Lake Sarah, Schmidt Lake, Swan Lake, Tanager Lake, Whaletail Lake, and Wirth Lake.

Meeker County: Stella Lake and Lake Washington.

Wright County: Augusta Lake, Beebe Lake, Buffalo Lake, Clearwater Lake, Clearwater River, Deer Lake, Fish Lake, French Lake, Goose Lake, Lake Mary, Little Waverly Lake, Lake Pulaski, Rock Lake, Sugar Lake, Waverly Lake, and Weigand Lake.

Still time to apply for prairie chicken, fall turkey hunts

From the DNR

Hunters are reminded that applications for the 2003 prairie chicken season and the fall turkey hunt will be accepted through July 25 at more than 1,800 Electronic License System (ELS) terminals located throughout the state.

The five-day prairie chicken season, which will begin on Oct. 18, is open to Minnesota residents only. Hunters will be charged a $4 application fee and may apply individually or in groups up to four.

The hunt will be held in seven prairie chicken quota areas between Crookston in the north and Breckenridge in the south.

Up to 20 percent of the permits in each area will be issued to landowners or tenants of 40 acres or more of prairie or grassland property within the permit area for which they applied.

Minnesota's prairie chicken population now stands at about 3,000 breeding birds in the spring and 6,000 birds in the fall. Historically, the prairie chickens were numerous in Minnesota.

DNR records show that in 1923, hunters killed 300,000 prairie chickens. By 1942, when the state's last prairie chicken hunt was held, the harvest had fallen to 58,000 birds.

Prairie restoration and protection programs have helped stabilize the bird's population in recent years. This year's hunt is aimed at building support for protecting and enhancing the bird's habitat.

Fall turkey hunting applications still available

Applications for this year's fall turkey hunt are also being accepted through July 25 at ELS vendors across the state.

Fall turkey hunters may apply to hunt in one of 23 permit areas from Oct. 15-19 or Oct. 22-26. A total of 3,870 fall turkey hunting permits are available.

The application fee is $3. For successful applicants, the license costs $18 for residents and $73 for nonresidents. A $5 stamp validation is also required for turkey hunters 18 years of age or older.

Application worksheets and permit area maps for both prairie chicken and fall turkey hunts are available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us. Successful applicants will be notified by mail and must purchase their permit at an ELS vendor.

Outdoor notes

­ Sorry, I'll finish the small story about my boat in next week's column. However, I did manage to do a great job breaking the new boat in ­ I busted up the prop just a little while cruising on Big Waverly during Waverly Days.

­ The sunfish have been hitting on many of the lakes in our area. The action on northern pike has also been good.

­ Now is the time to start getting your dog in shape for fall hunting seasons. Remember to work your dog during the cooler parts of the day.

­ Look for the algae bloom on several of the lakes in our area to be very intense this year.

­ On Howard Lake, Eurasian watermilfoil is reported to be in areas on the west side of the lake and near the Lions Club landing on the south shoreline.

­ Take a kid fishing; he or she will enjoy it, and so will you.

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