Although Curly Pond Weed has been around the Iowa Great Lakes for years, it is now spreading rapidly on the north end of East Lake Okoboji. It is an Aquatic Invasive Species that has crowded out native plants. Because of its thickness and rapid growth feature is causing navigation and access issues for anglers, boaters, and swimmers. The plants thrive in early spring and are less of an issue by mid-July.
The Iowa DNR says the abundance of this unwanted plant species is due to favorable growing conditions: short ice duration, light snow cover, and low water levels.
While Curly-Leaf Pond Weed is undesirable, a good balance of aquatic vegetation is critical for the lakes’ ecosystem. The Iowa DNR is working on an aquatic vegetation management plan that illustrates the importance of that balance. The plan will also and identify funding partners to help pay for these control measures.
Some options to control Curly-Leaf Pond Weed include spot herbicide applications as well as mechanical cutting.
The Iowa Great Lakes Association is monitoring this East Lake Okoboji activity to control Curly Pond Weed from spreading to other lakes in the Iowa Great chain of lakes.
The East Okoboji Lake Improvement Corporation is currently exploring a removal strategy which would mechanically remove some of the pond weed using a rotary hoe. (See link below for full story.)
Chemical treatments are being carefully analyzed and residents are reminded that applying herbicides on their own without proper permits is a federal offense.