Time to step up and keep Elkhart Lake blue

FOR NEARLY A CENTURY and a half, the sparkling blue waters of Elkhart Lake have been drawing visitors to the picturesque little village.

Whether they were swimming in the lake or sailing or boating on it, or just soaking in the sun on its shores, countless visitors have enjoyed the pristine beauty of the lake over the decades.

Keeping it pristine and attractive for generations to come is the goal of the Elkhart Lake Improvement Association. That’s even reflected in their website address – keepelkhartblue.org.

The group’s latest effort has been to conduct a plant survey of the entire lake to identify good and bad plant life in the lake.

The good news was that the survey found a healthy diversity of plant life in the lake, with a biodiversity rating of .81 out of a possible 1.0 – a biodiversity grade of a solid B.

The bad news was that two non-native invasive weeds were identified in the lake. One, curly leaf pondweed, was found in only four sites out of 594 checked, and that dies back by July every year, so it poses a minimal threat at best to the lake’s health.

The other, however, was Eurasian Watermilfoil, which has already become a major problem in many lakes and waterways across the state, according to the Wisconsin Lakes Association.

Left uncontrolled, Eurasian Watermilfoil could eventually make much of Elkhart Lake inaccessible for boating, swimming and fishing. It grows more densely than native weeds, crowding them out, and can be spread from fragments of the weed cut off by motor boats and dispersed to other parts of the lake.

The ELIA is hoping to conduct a chemical treatment of identified Eurasian Watermilfoil growth in the lake in an effort to stop its spread and reduce the threat to the lake.

Such treatments have proven effective in other lakes and waterways across the state, with positive impacts on sport and recreational uses of those lakes and waterways.

The ELIA is taking the lead in seeking approval and funding for such an effort, but they need others from both the private and the public sector to step up and aid the effort, through support and funding.

The Elkhart Lake Village Board has already lent its support to the ELIA’s application for a treatment permit from the state Department of Natural Resources. Now it’s time for them, and others, to lend financial support to this important effort.

The sparkling blue waters of the lake are truly the heartbeat of the village and the surrounding area, and that beat must be maintained.

Elkhart Lake has been a jewel attracting visitors for fun and pleasure for many years and, with the right efforts and support, can and should remain so for many more years to come.

At issue:
Weed control in Elkhart Lake
Bottom line:
Pre-emptive strike needed

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