ELIA declares victory in first battle of war on weeds

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Two separate chemical treatments of the lake this summer proved beneficial in the fight against invasive weeds.

Nancy Hanlon of the Elkhart Lake Improvement Association reported to the Village Board Monday on the results of the spraying in June and September, as well as other initiatives undertaken by the ELIA this year.

“It was deemed really quite successful,” Hanlon said of the chemical treatments aimed at eradicating Eurasian watermilfoil infestations identified in several areas of the lake.

The initial treatment in June covered seven different areas around the lake, while the September followup targeted two specific areas – the public boat landing on the west end of the lake and Sheboygan Bay.

The first spraying cover a total of 11.42 acres of the lake, while the second was limited to a 2.50- acre area.

“The boat landing must be a fertile area,” Hanlon commented. “We also had a very stubborn spot in Sheboygan Bay.”

In other areas, she added, the first treatment was successful in eliminating or greatly reducing the watermilfoil.

The ELIA also hired a trained clean water inspector to monitor the public boat launch, Hanlon said.

“The idea was to educate and remind people at the public entrance to the lake what the protocol is and how to prevent invasive species,” from entering Elkhart Lake, she explained.

Hanlon said the ELIA plans to apply for another permit from the state Department of Natural Resources for chemical treatment next year, but added that the group is hopeful it will not have to spray.

“We’re hoping to be able to control (invasive weeds) with experienced hand-pulling,” Hanson told the board. “The focus will be on hand-pulling. We’ll hold a training session for hand-pulling and maybe hire some students.”

However, the ELIA has been advised to have a permit in case treatment is needed, “because if you don’t do that and you have a problem area, you might not be able to get one when you need it,” Hanlon said.

She noted that, if the group gets a permit and does not use it, it can get all but $20 of the $595 permit fee back from the DNR.

The ELIA also plans to have a clean boat/clean water inspector at the public boat landing again next summer.

“This isn’t going to go away, it’s an on-going problem,” Hanlon said of the fight against invasive weeds.

She urged the village to continue its support for the ELIA’s efforts, saying, “Anything you can do goes a long way toward our success.”

Village President Alan Rudnick responded that the village has an appropriation toward the ELIA in the proposed 2014 budget.

That budget, he announced, will have a public hearing before the board at their Nov. 18 meeting.

That budget proposes an increase of 2.9 percent in the final property tax levy, from $1,138,363 to $1,171,725.

Rudnick reported that Gov. Scott Walker will be among those attending the ground-breaking ceremony next Tuesday for The Osthoff Resort’s conference center expansion project.

The $5 million, 20,000-square foot expansion is being aided by a tax incremental finance district created by the village earlier this fall.

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