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14. January 2021 · Comments Off on It’s Time to Expand Our Weed Management Program · Categories: AIS, Donation Appeal

As most lake users are aware, 2020 was a rough year for management of aquatic invasive species (weeds) on Kinderhook Lake. Dense beds of Eurasian Watermilfoil prevented boating and other recreational activities from taking place in large areas of the lake. We were not alone, as similar instances of expansive weed growth in 2020 were reported in many other lakes throughout the region.

Back in 2016, close to 75-acres of aquatic invasive species, primarily Eurasian Watermilfoil, were mapped in the lake. That process led to the purchase of the Eco-Harvester in 2017, which has been efficiently removing milfoil each summer in the main boating channels as allowed by our DEC permit. Since then, the invasive weed beds have expanded, almost doubling in size and density by 2020. Contributing factors to the unprecedented increase in weed growth include (1) recent warmer winters not allowing sediment to freeze deep enough to kill or stun weeds in areas exposed by the annual drawdown; (2) unusually good water clarity consistently 6- to 7-feet deep for the last few years, allowing the sun to reach deeper and help spur weed growth; (3) the natural cycle of aquatic plant decay contributing to rich nutrients helping to fuel weed growth; (4) constant fragmentation of weeds from boat propellers traveling through the milfoil beds (milfoil easily propagates by fragmentation); and (5) natural reseeding and root expansion from large milfoil beds left unharvested due to limitations of our DEC harvesting permit.

While the Eco-Harvester removed a record 118 harvester-loads of invasive weeds this past summer (volume equivalent to ~413 cubic yards or ~34 dump truck loads), it could not keep up with the thick and speedy regrowth of milfoil. Evaluation throughout the summer and fall led the KLC Weed Committee to determine that it was time to expand our weed management program to include new options to combat aquatic invasive species in addition to using our Eco-Harvester.

After extensive research, the Weed Committee identified a relatively new aquatic herbicide called ProcellaCor. It has been used in many states for several years with remarkable results but was only approved for use in New York State waterbodies in 2019. Weed Committee members visited two local lakes in Fall 2020 to observe the results of their ProcellaCor treatments. Areas of milfoil treated with ProcellaCor at Crooked Lake in Fall 2019 and Burden Lake in Spring 2020 were completely free of milfoil. Committee members talked with several other lake associations that used ProcellaCor in recent years and the results were equally as impressive—no regrowth of milfoil. Committee members also consulted with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and several lake management firms licensed to apply ProcellaCor to evaluate the most optimal methods of treatment for Kinderhook Lake.

According to research, ProcellaCor has many important advantages over other widely used herbicides: (1) it is highly effective at extremely low dosages and dissipates quickly after use; (2) it specifically targets Eurasian Watermilfoil and a few other invasive species; (3) it does not harm native vegetation or wildlife; (4) it has minimal water use restrictions (primarily irrigation related); and (5) it reportedly lasts for three years before retreatment may be necessary (other herbicides require annual treatments). ProcellaCor treatments appear to be our best option to provide extended control of milfoil for several years.

Based on recommendations by the Weed Committee, the KLC Board of Directors approved the treatment of all milfoil in the lake with ProcellaCor in 2021 based on available funding. The KLC has since accepted proposals from three lake management firms and selected Burden Aquatics, Inc., a local firm from Averill Park, to prepare and submit DEC permit applications and treat the lake’s milfoil beds with ProcellaCor in June of 2021. The estimated cost to treat up to 160 acres is $70,000. The final cost will be determined by a survey in the spring to verify the exact size of all the milfoil beds.

Once the milfoil is treated with ProcellaCor, other weed species may eventually grow in its place. New growth could be native or invasive. For instance, curly-leaf pondweed already grows within many of the milfoil beds and will not be affected by the ProcellaCor treatments. It is possible that curly-leaf pondweed will thrive once the milfoil is treated. Fortunately, curly-leaf pondweed prefers cooler water and dies back on its own once the lake warms up by early-July and, until then, the Eco-Harvester will keep main boating channels clear as allowed by our DEC harvesting permit.

Recent capital improvements at the dam ($68,000 in 2019-2020) and annual copper sulfate purchases to help control blue-green algae (~$15,000/year) have put a considerable strain on the KLC’s financial reserves. However, this could not have been accomplished without your membership gifts and generous donations.

Your help is now needed to expand our weed management program. The goal is to raise $70,000 to treat up to 160 acres of Eurasian Watermilfoil with ProcellaCor during the summer of 2021. This goal can only be achieved through donations by everyone who loves and uses Kinderhook Lake and wants to see it thrive in the future.

To reach this goal, help save our lake from being overtaken by weeds, and expand our weed management program this coming spring, your support and donations in one of the following seven categories is requested:

Silver $50 – $199 Eagle $750 – $999
Patron $200 – $499 Golden Eagle $1,000 – $1,499
Golden Patron $500 – $749 Diamond $1,500 – $2,499
  Platinum Leader Over $2,500  

Donations can easily be made securely online here on our website or by sending a check to the KLC at PO Box 53, Niverville, NY 12130. Please see this pledge form for other donation options. 

Think about it this way, ProcellaCor treatments are reported to last at least three years. If you donate $750, your one-time Eagle donation would be equivalent to $250/year. Certainly, you would agree that it is worth $250/year to save our lake from the destruction that will be caused by the continued expansion of Eurasian Watermilfoil. And, if you are lucky enough to own property on the lake, you would also agree that it’s worth $250/year to assure your property values continue to rise.

Thank you for your continued support and help to preserve Kinderhook Lake! Together, we can address this issue. 

DONATE to Help Expand the KLC Weed Management Program