(Orleans)– Mitigation strategies are in place for the upcoming season for curly leaf pond weed in the Iowa Great Lakes. Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources tells KUOO news the plan is similar to last year but he says they’ll be doing some additional work on Lake Minnewashta… PlayStop

“We will be doing some more treatment than last year. We will be modifying a few of the acres and helping some of the folks out with some of the access issues down on Lake Minnewashta. So that’s a big change for 2021, is increasing the number of shoreline acres that we’re doing as part of the project. Just through some surveys and some work we did last year we noticed a lot of heavy curly leaf pond weed right along the shoreline early on Lake Minneswashta, so we’re getting that area treated. The total number of acres is going to be fairly similar to last year and then of course we’ll have some mechanical harvesting go on as well. At this point we’re just trying to get all of that contract into place for this coming season.”

In previous years, crews would drill some test holes in the ice at about this time to determine the density of curly leaf pond weed, which tends to start growing about now. Hawkins says they won’t be doing that this year… PlayStop

“It really probably wouldn’t change anything in the plan, you know, if we went out and did that. We do know, just from last fall, that plant’s already germinated and was in place, so. The lower water levels may actually make it a little different this year and so that’s something we haven’t experienced in quite awhile. We don’t know where our water levels will end up this spring but right now they’re lower than they have been for the last five or six years, so we’ll see how that affects the curly leaf pond week. I would imagine plant density will be the same but it might be more visible this year if I had to guess.”

Hawkins adds they are working closely again this year with the East Okoboji Lakes Improvement Corporation on the mitigation strategy.