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Invasive Plants Found at Yellow Smoke Lake

BOONE - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of brittle naiad, an invasive aquatic plant native to Europe, at Yellow Smoke Lake, in Crawford County, and suspects its presence at other Iowa lakes.

Brittle naiad has taken over Yellow Smoke to the point that the boat ramp has been closed. Boat ramps are also closed at Nelson Park, in Crawford County, Crawford Creek Lake and Moorehead Lake, both in Ida County, due to excessive weeds, suspected to be brittle naiad. The DNR also suspects brittle naiad is in Little Sioux Park, Woodbury County, and Casey Lake, in Tama County.

Kim Bogenschutz, with the DNR's aquatic nuisance species program, said brittle naiad is difficult to control because the plant can grow from either the seeds along its stem, or from plant fragments that have broken free.

"Preventing the spread of brittle naiad to other lakes is the real key here now," she said. "This plant is extremely difficult to get rid of once it gets into a lake."

How brittle naiad got into Yellow Smoke is unclear, Bogenschutz said, so she is stressing prevention to boaters and anglers to stop the spread.

"We are encouraging people to clean their boats, fishing nets and other equipment thoroughly after they are finished at a lake and before they leave the area to help control the spread," Bogenschutz said.

The DNR plans to use a systemic herbicide this spring to remove the brittle naiad in Yellow Smoke. The chemical will be applied when the plant is actively growing so it is absorbed through the stem. It will take 60 to 90 days for all the plants to die. If plants are killed too quickly, the mass of decaying plants will rob the water of oxygen and could cause a fish kill.

"It is expensive to remove these types of exotic plants using chemicals," Bogenschutz said. "The treatment will kill the plants, but then we will have to deal with a bed of seeds."

The chemical costs about $1,400 per gallon and the treatment at Yellow Smoke will require five gallons. Yellow Smoke is a 39-acre artificial lake.

Brittle naiad is similar to Eurasian watermilfoil. Both plant species spread rapidly and can take over lakes, crowding out more desired aquatic plants. Brittle naiad has spread throughout much of the eastern United States and has been confirmed in Missouri and Illinois lakes.

"We are currently trying to determine the extent of the brittle naiad distribution in Iowa," she said.

 

 

 

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