Lake Quassapaug wins 1st milfoil battle
November 19, 2015 – Local – Tagged: Connecticut, Greater Waterbury, Quassy Towns: Middlebury CT
BY BILL BITTAR REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Bill Bittar Republican-American Lake Quassapaug is frequented by swimmers and boaters, but an invasive weed threatens to spoil lake users’ fun. The Lake Quassapaug Association is using organic methods to combat the Eurasian milfoil.
MIDDLEBURY – A consultant doing an annual plant survey at Lake Quassapaug reported that first year of suction harvesting to combat rapid growth of an invasive weed was successful.
The Lake Quassapaug Association had hired divers to hand pull Eurasian milfoil plants from the lake floor after an outcry from lake users opposed to a recommendation to use herbicides.
“We’re going in the right direction,” said George Frantzis, the association president, who is a longtime resident and an owner of Quassy Amusement Park. “There’s definitely a sigh of relief that we made positive movement.”
Frantzis admitted to being pessimistic going in.
Based on consultant George Knoecklein’s positive report, the Lake Quassapaug Association board approved the possible purchase of its own boat and suction harvesting equipment, so it can double the acres that are suction harvested in future years, according to the Lake Quassapaug newsletter.
But Frantzis said it’s too early to be overly optimistic, because there are many variables.
“”We don’t have a baseline right now,” he said. “We need more data. The true success will be seen over time. Unfortunately, it’s not an exact science.”
For instance, Frantzis said, each year brings different weather, which can effect weed growth.
In addition to suction harvesting and hand pulling, other organic methods to removing the plants may include putting barriers in some coves where fragments from dead milfoil plants drift out to reduce the spread, according to Frantzis.
But these methods are expensive.
“This year, we were lucky to reach our minimum of $35,000 to $40,000 to sustain a level,” Frantzis said. “The challenge is it’s not cheap. We need to keep that financial pool alive.”
In 2015, the association took in $57,000 worth of donations, including over $4,000 from the first Lake Quassapaug Association golf tournament at Highfield Club.
Aside from donations for the lake projects, the association applied for a grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection with a match from the Salem Fund.
This past summer the association hired AE Diving Services for four weeks to suction harvest all Eurasian milfoil plants throughout the lake and 3.75 acres of dense variable milfoil in Tylers Cove.
The focus will now be on the remaining 7 to 8 acres of variable milfoil in Dam, Tylers and Middle Coves that are either adjacent to homes and beaches or in areas with frequent boat traffic, according to the Lake Quassapaug newsletter.
Contact Bill Bittar at firstname.lastname@example.org.