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Case Studies
Water Management Associations
Winter Drawdown Cause of Rapid Weed Growth
Bolton Lake officials began applying aquatic herbicide Sonar Genesis, or fluridone, in May and once again in June to eradicate the aquatic weeds. This fiscal year $80,000 was spent on investigating and addressing the algae and weed choked lake. The chemical application will cost $52,500 with follow up treatments estimated between $40,000 and $50,000 in each of the next years.

Swimming, boating, and fishing on the lake are prohibited for a 24-hour period after application, but using lake water to irrigate vegetable gardens or other food sources remains restricted for about thirty days after the initial treatment. According to state and federal environmental agencies, the substance is harmful if it’s swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. People and their pets should also avoid contact or breathing vapors or spray mist as it’s applied.

Last fall, a report from the environmental consultant George Knoecklein identified the traditional winter drawdowns as the likely cause for the rapid growth of weeds and the toxic algae bloom. It’s routine to lower the water table by at least 3 feet to allow residents to repair docks and submerged walls. But in recent years, the drawdown has more than doubled, by 6 to 10 feet, well below the outlet pipe allowing water to move freely between the middle and lower lakes, the report states.

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