CONNECTICUT’S ACTIVITIES REGARDING INVASIVE AQUATIC WEEDS
THE FOLLOWING IS A SLIDE PRESENTATION ON INVASIVE AQUATIC WEEDS BY GREGORY J. BUGBEE OF THE AGRICULLTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION. PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE PRESENTATION.
CONNECTICUT’S ACTIVITIES REGARDING INVASIVE AQUATIC WEEDS
THE FOLLOWING IS A SLIDE PRESENTATION ON INVASIVE AQUATIC WEEDS BY GREGORY J. BUGBEE OF THE AGRICULLTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION. PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE PRESENTATION.
State Approves Carp Restocking of Lake Mahopac
By BOB DUMAS
June 11, 2017 at 7:00 AM
MAHOPAC, N.Y. – There is finally some relief in sight for the ongoing weed problem in Lake Mahopac as the state Department of Conservation (DEC) has agreed to allow the town to stock it with 1,500 triploid carp.
Triploid carp, also known as grass carp, are an herbivorous species of fish commonly used for weed control.
‘The Lake Mahopac Park District and town officials have been asking the state to replenish the carp population for several years, saying the weed growth in the lake has gotten out of control.
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‘“The lake does have a serious vegetation problem with milfoil and other vegetation that has been blooming and spreading around,” said Supervisor Ken Schmitt at the Town Board’s May 24 meeting. “It affects intakes on boats, propellers, swimmers. It is definitely out of control once again.”
The DEC allowed the town to add 200 carp last year, but park district and town officials say it wasn’t nearly enough. The last time the lake had a major carp restocking was 1996.
To convince the state that more carp were needed, the park district performed a biomass study last summer. A drone, equipped with a camera, was used to measure the extent of the weed problem and the results were sent to the DEC.
“This was not an easy process,” Schmitt said. “The DEC originally was not in agreement with the town of Carmel. That’s why they issued us a permit for only 200 carp last year. Even with all the new [information]—the biomass study and new data and research—it took a lot to convince them. But once they received all that information and reviewed it, they agreed with the town. The biomass study that was done on the lake supports the number of carp the DEC has issued a permit for. These 1,500 carp and the 200 put in there last year are going to address the [weed] issue. All they eat are weeds; they’re vegetarians. And they don’t reproduce.”
Ed Barnett, chair of the lake district’s board of directors, said getting the right number of carp was important.
“We don’t want to eradicate the weeds, but we want to have some control so it’s not a nuisance,” he told Mahopac News last year, just before the biomass study. He said if the vegetation was eradicated, it could harm some of the other species of fish that reside in the lake.
“The largemouth bass needs a weed cover to breed and hide from predatory fish,” he noted.
Barnett said that the last time the district performed such a biomass survey was in 1993 when it was noted that there were 175 acres of weeds on 583 acres of lake. The DEC provided 2,565 carp then and it solved the problem.
At last week’s meeting, the board accepted a bid of $11,000 for the 1,500 carp (about $7.33 per fish) from Keo Fish Suppliers in Keo, Ark. The cost includes the delivery and stocking of the fish and will be borne by the residents of the Mahopac Park District.
“The town of Carmel is not paying for the carp,” Schmitt said. “It’s just [the park district] residents.”
Town officials said they were optimistic the additional carp will solve the recent weed dilemma.
“I was out on the lake last week and it definitely needs it,” said Councilwoman Suzy McDonough, who serves as a liaison between the Town Board and the park district. “Hopefully everyone will start to see [a difference] now.”
Schmitt echoed McDonough’s sentiments.
“My office received a lot of complaints and concerns from the residents who live on the lake that the weeds were getting out of control and to please help them,” he said. “We took that and ran with it. I am glad that this finally came through.”
It’s Fish-Eat-Weed At Taunton Lake
Published: November 18, 2013, NEWTOWN BEE
About 250 grass carp are now silently swimming in the waters of Taunton Lake, the scenic 125-acre spring-fed, glacial lake in the Taunton District whose waters drain into Pond Brook and eventually to the Housatonic River.
The grass carp, which are not native to the lake, recently were released into it as part of a project designed to curb the growth of the weed known as aquatic milfoil. Grass carp eat milfoil.
Taunton Lake, which once served as a public water supply reservoir, has only limited public access. Its waters largely have been fished by members of Newtown Fish & Game Club, a group which maintains a private boat launch for its members at Taunton Lake Road.
To spare the lake from water turbulence and turbidity, fishing boat propulsion is limited to low-powered electric trolling motors. Club members also are allowed to fish from shore. Ice fishing is popular. Trout and bass make for prized catches.
The lake has a maximum depth of 30 feet, with an average depth of 22 feet. It has an estimated water volume of 950 million gallons. The lake has an 850-acre watershed.
Taunton Lake has remained a relatively clean water body over the years due to its limited access and because only a fraction of its shoreline has been residentially developed.
In 2007, however, testing indicated that the lake had become infested with aquatic milfoil, an invasive weed that has entered many lakes and ponds in North America.
In this region, Lake Zoar, Lake Lillinonah and Candlewood Lake have heavy milfoil infestations.
It is unclear exactly how the milfoil contamination started in Taunton Lake.
It is thought that boats that had been in use elsewhere picked up milfoil fragments on their hulls in those other waterbodies and then introduced the weed into Taunton Lake.
George Benson, the town director of planning and land use, is an aquatic biologist, or limnologist, by training.
During the past several years, since milfoil was discovered in the lake, Mr Benson has advised the Newtown Fish & Game Club and the Taunton Lake Landowners Association on measures that could be taken to curb the weed’s spread.
As a limnologist, Mr Benson has overseen a successful milfoil control project at the 83-acre Ball Pond in New Fairfield, where grass carp were placed in the water and have been eating milfoil for years, thus controlling the weed.
The 250 grass carp which recently were placed in Taunton Lake are sterile and will not reproduce, preventing uncontrolled growth of the grass carp population, Mr Benson said.
The need to maintain a certain population of grass carp would require occasional restocking. Grass carp are native to Asia.
Although grass carp are a food fish in China, in Europe and the US the herbivorous fish are used for aquatic weed control.
Rowledge Pond Aquaculture of Newtown did the fish stocking from the fish and game club’s boat launch.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reviewed the stocking plans and endorsed the project.
The grass carp, which were 10 inches to 12 inches long when placed in the lake, should be effective in controlling milfoil growth for about four to five years, Mr Benson said.
The grass carp are large enough so that they will not be the prey of other fish in the lake.
“They eat the milfoil,” Mr Benson said, describing the simplicity of the approach.
The harvesting of milfoil is sometimes used to control the weed. But that approach can be problematic, Mr Benson said, noting that as the long strands of milfoil are being gathered, the plant breaks into small pieces, with those plant fragments then falling downward into the lake and rerooting on the lakebed.
After milfoil was discovered in Taunton Lake, herbicides were applied, with less than desired results.
Fortunately, no zebra mussels have yet been discovered in Taunton Lake, he said. That small freshwater mussel has become an invasive species across the world.
The grass carp are expected to grow to more than three feet long. They are easy to catch.
The people who are managing the grass carp project ask anyone who catches a grass carp to put it back into the water to let it continue eating milfoil.
A special barrier has been positioned at the lake’s outlet to Pond Brook to prevent the carp from leaving the lake.
Mr Benson said that approximately 28 acres of the 125-acre lake are infested with milfoil. There has been a steady increase of the infested area since milfoil was discovered in the southeastern corner of the lake, he said. When discovered in 2007, about four acres of the lake were contaminated with milfoil.
Milfoil, which has long stems surrounded by feathery foliage, spreads along the shoreline in shallower water where conditions are suitable for its growth, he explained.
Excessive milfoil in a lake tends inhibit others species and damages its wildlife habitat, he said. Mr Benson termed the lake as “moderately” infested with milfoil.
The dense pockets of milfoil now in the lake would become even denser if measures are not taken to curb its growth, he said.
Besides aesthetic problems, the presence of milfoil impedes fishing, he said. Also, the propellers of boats that travel through milfoil pockets tear up the milfoil and tend to spread its growth, he said.
By next summer, those monitoring the grass carp stocking project should have some sense of how effective it has been, he said.
Pat Barkman of the Taunton Lake Landowners Association, Inc, said the presence of grass carp in the lake probably will not eradicate the milfoil infestation, but would keep the problem in check. Ms Barkman advises the association on conservation issues.
Ms Barkman said she hopes to learn in within two years whether placing the grass carp is an effective way to control the milfoil in Taunton Lake.
Frank Hufner, who heads the fish and game club, said the project to place grass carp in the lake has been in the planning stages for several years.
Besides Mr Benson’s advice on the fish stocking, Town Engineer Ronald Bolmer aided with designing a device to keep the grass carp from leaving the lake by swimming into its outlet, Mr Hufner noted.
Also, DEEP recommended the number of grass carp that should be stocked in the lake.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed. We hope for the best,” Mr Hufner said.
“It should work. We’ve got great expectations,” he said, pointing to the effectiveness of a similar project at Ball Pond.
New Fairfield rejects plan to apply herbicides to Candlewood Lake
By Anna Quinn Published 12:00 am, Wednesday, MayNEW FAIRFIELD —
Town officials no longer will pursue a permit to apply herbicides to Candlewood Lake after more than 200 voters adopted an ordinance to stop the plan Tuesday night.
The ordinance, proposed by the group “Candlewood Voices” earlier this month, requires a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals on the lake. The group formed in opposition to the town’s proposal to treat the lake with the herbicide Diquat to kill invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and copper sulfate to treat blue-green algae.
In a packed town hall meeting at the New Fairfield Senior Center, all but several of the more than 200 residents voted to adopt the ordinance.
After the vote, First Selectman Susan Chapman said the town will no longer seek a permit with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to use the herbicides.
“Well, this is democracy and this is how it works in a town hall form of government,” she said. “Obviously, we won’t be moving forward with the permit.”
The town had considered applying Diquat to about 10 acres of the Shelter Harbor Cove area after getting approval from about 10 residents in the cove, although they had not yet applied for a permit with DEEP. The plan was a scaled back version of the town’s original proposal to treat about 60 acres of the lake with the herbicide Diquat and to apply copper sulfate on up to 160 acres.
Tuesday’s town meeting was scheduled after Candlewood Voices filed two petitions asking the town to hold a meeting on the ordinance. The selectmen scheduled the meeting two weeks ago after initially denying the group’s first petition for legal reasons.
John McCartney, a member of Candlewood Voices, said the group then spent the next few weeks getting the word out about the meeting by posting on its 400-member Facebook group and calling those who had signed the petitions.
“Super turnout and an awesome result,” he said after the vote. “This is the purest form of government in the United States.”
The group, made up of six core members from Danbury, New Fairfield and Sherman, said they worry about the negative health effects the herbicide could have on the humans, wildlife and the existing grass carp in the lake. They also did not agree with the way town officials introduced the proposal.
Candlewood Voices organized after a March 2 forum on the proposal was attended by over 150 residents, most of whom spoke against using herbicides. The members of the group were frustrated, McCartney said, the town didn’t abandon the idea after the negative feedback.
Khris Hall, a voter who is running for selectman, said residents should be the ones deciding whether to use herbicides in the lake.
“We’re obviously very happy with the result,” she said. “This is where the decision should have been made in the first place — in a town meeting.”
Another voter, Erin Badillo, said she may have considered supporting the herbicides if the town had gone about the proposal differently. But she voted to pass the ordinance Tuesday because she disagreed with the town’s process.
“The Board of Selectmen ignored repeated requests for input and questions,” she said. “… If it was a decision that was come to by the Candlewood Lake Authority with experts and scientists involved, I would go along with that.”
The Candlewood Lake Authority has said the herbicides might interfere with its existing grass carp program. About 3,800 carp were released into the lake in 2015 and 4,450 more will be stocked this summer.
Candlewood carp are eating milfoil as hoped, report says
By Anna Quinn Updated 7:19 pm, Friday, April 7, 2017
About 50 sterile grass carp with trackers were added to Candlewood Lake Wednesday morning, making it the first program of its kind in Connecticut. Each carp has a transmitter that was surgically inserted into the fishs stomach and an antenna several inches long coming out of its side. Using a unique radio frequency, scientists can track each fish to see how it moves throughout the lake and what factors contribute to these movements, including proximity to the Eurasian watermilfoil.
DANBURY — Armed with a single detector on the 5,400 acres of Candlewood Lake, Western Connecticut State University professor Theodora Pinou’s first goal was to find the 48 grass carp released with tracking devices in their bellies.
The next step would be to determine whether the carp were doing their job, which is to eat the Eurasian watermilfoil that has fouled lake waters in recent years.
Pinou and her team of students and volunteers not only found 85 percent of the fish, but confirmed that they were staying in milfoil-dense areas — suggesting they were grazing, as hoped, on the invasive plant.
The 48 fish, carrying surgically inserted radio transmitters, were released last summer to eat the milfoil and to help researchers understand carp behavior. They joined 3,800 carp released in 2015 without trackers, and will be joined by another 4,450 more fish that will be released this summer.
Pinou, along with Candlewood Lake Authority Director Larry Marsicano, presented their findings Thursday to a group of students and lakeshore residents at Western.
“Now, 3,500 fish, I can’t be sure where they are,” Pinou said. “But if I can use my tagged fish as a proxy, then it would appear that this agrees and talks for those individuals as well.”
About 71 percent of the 48 tagged fish, which were released from four points around the lake in groups of 12, stayed within two miles of their release points, Pinou said.
Two additional fish were put into nearby Haviland Millpond so researchers could understand the limits of their tracking devices.
Pinou’s team visited 60 milfoil beds around the lake to find the tagged fish, after it proved difficult to locate them close to the stocking points. Each bed was visited at least six times in summer 2016.
The project was overseen by Candlewood Lake Authority and officals from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Equipment was purchased by the Goldring Family Foundation, and the carp were bought using money from a matching $50,000 grant the state awarded the authority in 2014.
Researchers also sought to ensure the fish weren’t leaving the lake through a pipe at the northern end that connects to the Housatonic River. Since the state requires that the fish be kept isolated from other bodies of water, none were released in the northern arm of the lake.
Pinou reported that one of 12 tagged fish released from the northernmost stocking station swam towards the pipe, but it stopped at a patch of milfoil before reaching the pipe.
She concluded that these findings, along with the success of a long-running carp program in Ball Pond, suggest that over time, the carp will be able to do their jobs.
“Indeed, the grass carp can manage the milfoil in the lake,” Pinou said. “The most important thing here is that you need time to see the effects…if we’re going to be serious about grass carp in Candlewood, we’re going to need more than one year.”
The research also confirmed expectations about carp behavior, including that they move the most in the first 10 days after being released, that they travel more when disturbed and that they like to cluster in groups.
Now that she knows the carp stay around milfoil beds, Pinou said, the next step is to take water samples to see how the carp are changing their environment. Her team will continue working on the lake this summer.
She also hopes to use the strength of the radio signals, and perhaps buy more detectors, to help pinpoint the location of each fish. But first she has to find them again.
“The first thing we’ll do this summer is see if they are in the same place,” Pinou said.
NOTE: OUR LAKE CONSULTANT, KEN WAGNER, AND OUR LAKE WEED CONSULTANT, MARC BELLAUD, RECOMMENDED THE USE OF HERBICIDES. OVER 200 RESIDENTS OF NEW FAIRFIELD, CT, VOTED TO STOP THIS PROPOSAL. THESE RESIDENTS ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PROGRESS WITH GRASS CARP.
Candlewood Lake residents oppose use of chemicals
By Katrina Koerting Updated 5:59 pm, Saturday, March 4, 2017 , newtimes
NEW FAIRFIELD — For nearly three hours, dozens of residents around Candlewood Lake spoke against a proposal to use herbicides and algaecides to treat Eurasian watermilfoil and blue-green algae, both of which have plagued the lake for years.
More than 150 residents filled the cafeteria at Meeting House Hill School to comment and learn about the proposal drafted by Solitude Lake Management, a consulting company that addressed lake issues at a September forum organized by First Selectman Susan Chapman.
A permit must be approved by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection before the program can proceed.
“DEEP should deny (the permit) based on the will of the people, and the health and environmental concerns,” said Scott Randall, a Sherman man who started an online petition against the proposal in January.
Residents criticized the selectmen for not consulting property owners, the other lake towns or the Candlewood Lake Authority before signing the agreement.
They said the $30,000 selectmen set aside to help cover most of the $52,400 application cost was approved by 14 voters at a town meeting to cover Candlewood Lake studies, not this program.
Under the proposal, the company would apply a herbicide with Diquot in mid-May to about 50 acres in Town Park Cove and 10 acres in Shelter Harbor Cove to treat the watermilfoil. It would make up to four applications of copper sulfate to treat the algae, or cyanobacteria, when a bloom occurs or is about to occur.
Ken Wagner, a consultant hired by New Fairfield, started the meeting by saying the proposed methods have risks that needed to be weighed against the rewards. He said the amounts of chemicals are low enough to reduce those risks.
“Please don’t twist the science to say someone is trying to poison the lake,” he said.
Marc Bellaud, of Solitude Lake Management, said the program would demonstrate if the chemicals can work well with the sterile grass carp, which were introduced in 2015 to eat the milfoil. It will also test if the carp will eat more of the milfoil that grows after the chemical is applied.
He said the chemicals are very commonly used in Connecticut and nearby lakes, though not with the sterile grass carp.
Town officials have said the chemicals would assist the fish in controlling the milfoil, not replacing them, but many speakers were concerned the chemicals, especially the copper would kill the carp.
Most asked officials to give the carp time to be effective, which generally take two to four years.
The state approved 3,800 carp in the initial stocking, and DEEP officials announced at Thursday’s meeting it would approve another 3,000 fish this year, bringing the total to the preferred ratio of 15 fish per acre of milfoil.
Peter Aarrestad, director of the of DEEP’s fisheries division, said they stocked fewer at first because they wanted to address initial concerns in the first year, such as whether the fish would escape.
Phyllis Schaer, chairwoman of Candlewood Lake Authority, said the chemical solution was a reaction to symptoms rather than causes, adding they should allow the carp program to work.
“If you plant an orchard and don’t get apples the first year, you don’t cut down all of the trees,” she said.
She added the two treatment sites are stocking areas, and this program would prevent them from putting fish there.
Pat Delmonico, chairwoman of the town’s Inland and Wetlands Commission, said the commission unanimously opposed the proposal saying it was counterproductive to add it so soon after the carp were introduced to the lake. She said not enough research exists to show the chemicals wouldn’t harm the carp.
Other speakers said they were worried about adding the chemical to the water in the event the lake was needed as a reservoir, which Danbury is considering because of drought conditions, and the chemicals could affect the wells around the lake.
Some speakers questioned the science behind the chemicals’ safety. Consultants and the DEEP official in charge of the permit process said studies done as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration process confirmed the science. Diquot was last registered in the 1990s, though it has been used since the 1960s.
A few speakers favored the proposal, including John Hodge, a New Fairfield delegate on the Candlewood Lake Authority.
“Sometimes you need to use the proper chemicals in the appropriate amounts to get better,” he said, comparing it to chemotherapy.
DEEP will receive comments for two weeks after the application is received. Comments can be emailed to deep.
THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE NEW ENGLAND CHAPTER OF NALMS BLOG
Ice Out and Its Meaning for Lakes
May 9, 2017
The annual date of ice out for some lakes is fodder for prognostication and even wagers, but for aquatic plants and animals, that date has deeper ecological significance. Light and temperature are key cues in the aquatic environment, and ice cover keeps lakes cold and dark in late winter. As the air temperature warms, the ice melts, usually leaving open water around the edge and then falling apart over deeper water over a short time period. If that date is earlier, algae and rooted plants can get a head start on spring growth. If that date is later, growth is delayed. Temperature also affects when hibernating aquatic animals, like turtles and frogs, become active. Fish are active even under the ice, as any ice fisherman will tell you, but are more aggressive after ice-out and turn to spawning activities based on temperature cues.
While lakes may not actively manage time, it is a lot like it is for people; if you get up early, you can get a lot more done in a day, and you may not be able to finish your to-do list if you sleep in. As the water warms and light penetrates further without ice, lots of biological processes increase in lakes. Bacteria decompose organic bottom sediments, using oxygen and releasing various substances into the water column. Algae take up nutrients and use sunlight to photosynthesize and make more biomass. Zooplankton eat algae and reproduce more frequently, but small fish also eat zooplankton and limit that trophic level by early summer in most lakes. Fish spawn and make small fish that eat those zooplankton. In the meantime, rooted plants are growing, either from seeds, various winter buds, or root stocks, anywhere that light penetrates to a hospitable bottom substrate. Benthic invertebrates, often dependent on those plants, grow, reproduce and are eaten by fish or each other. A lake waking up from what seems like a winter sleep is indeed a busy place!
With variation in ice out date from year to year, and weather variation once the ice does go out, the sequence and intensity of cues will vary considerably from year to year, making every year unique to some extent. General patterns of plant growth, algae succession, fish spawning and other biological processes are known, but small changes can make quite a difference. A cold snap or windy period in May can retard stratification or cause a downturn in fish spawning that is not recoverable in that year. A very mild winter like we had going into 2016 can let perennial plants like invasive species of watermilfoil get a very early start (some plants may not even have died back to roots and stems) that outcompetes native species and makes it hard for harvesting programs to keep up. Weather plays a big role, and is influenced by climate change.
Climate change is a popular topic and the subject of spirited debates, but the data clearly show that lakes have been experiencing earlier ice-out dates over the last century (see graph). We seem to be losing a day of ice about every decade, such that based on the period of record going back about 150 years ice-out is now occurring two weeks earlier on average. Just keep in mind that aquatic organisms do not live in the “average”, and lakes have experienced both very late and very early ice out dates in just the last few years.
Ice out dates for various lakes.
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GYPSOPHATE (SOLD AS ROUNDUP) HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AS ‘SAFE’ BY GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES. NOW IT IS DECLARED AS ‘CANCER CAUSING’. (REMEMBER WHEN DDT WAS CONSIDERED SAFE?). THIS IS WHY WE CANNOT TRUST SAFE CLAIMS BY MANUFACTURERS OR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. THE ROLE OF A GOVERNMENT AGENCY IS TO PROMOTE AGRICULTURE. THE ROLE OF A MANUFACTURER IS TO MAXIMIZE PROFITABILITY.
California Adds Monsanto Weed Killer To List Of Cancer-Causing Chemicals
Friday, July 7, 2017
By David Wagner
Credit: Associated Press
Above: Containers of Roundup, left, a weed killer is seen on a shelf with other products for sale at a hardware store in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2017.
Effective on Friday, California will add a weed killer made by Monsanto to its list of chemicals “known to the state to cause cancer.”
Glyphosate, a chemical found in the widely used herbicide Roundup, now officially joins hundreds of other chemicals determined by the state to be linked with cancer. Monsanto disputes the designation, and is pursuing an appeal in a court case over the issue.
California’s decision is at odds with conclusions reached by other government agencies, including the federal EPA and European agencies, which have said that scientific evidence does not support linking glyphosate with cancer. However, the state’s listing is in keeping with the World Health Organization’s conclusion that glyphosate is “probably” cancer-causing to humans.
California’s decision will not result in a state-wide ban, but products containing glyphosate will be required to carry a warning label.
Some local governments, including the city of Encinitas, have already implemented municipal bans on glyphosate.
Glyphosate is no longer sprayed in Encinitas parks or on the city’s public lands, due to a 2015 city council decision. Encinitas park operations manager Annette Saul said the city has found ways to suppress weeds without relying on glyphosate.
“There are other herbicides we’re able to use, and we also use manual labor,” she said. “People wanted it not to be used in the city, and the council’s direction was to ban it.”
Saul said the city has not determined how fazing out glyphosate has affected the city’s landscaping costs.
Elsewhere in California, Irvine’s city council has also decided to move away from using glyphosate, and the Burbank Unified School District no longer sprays the weed killer on school grounds.