September 5, 2010

Journal Inquirer Towns Bolton and Vernon Connecticut Work Together to fix Bolton Lake Weed Problem

Journal Inquirer Towns Bolton Consultant to study Bolton Lake weed removal options

By Kym Soper Journal Inquirer

Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:34 AM EDT
The town of Vernon has appropriated $6,000 for a consultant to determine how best to eradicate the weed that has choked Bolton Lake this season. Mayor McCoy said that “it was his recommendation that the appropriation be made to protect this valuable resource, these are the things that the Government needs to do, this is an asset of the Town of Vernon and its citizens”. Mayor McCoy went on say that “this is the second appropriation that the Town of Vernon Has made to protect the lake against the invasive weeds, even though this is occurring in the lower portion of the Lake it could migrate in to the larger portion of the Lake having a much worse impact on the Lake and its users.”

Officials in Bolton and Vernon are hoping to salvage next summer for swimmers and boaters.

“This is the first time we’ve been faced with this, and we’re trying to find out what we should do next,” Bolton Town Administrator Joyce Stille said, noting that “the weather this year couldn’t be more perfect” for the spread of the invasive weed known as slender water nymph.

The Vernon Town Council appropriated the funds this month, and officials hope a consultant can be hired and start work in the next few weeks.

Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy said that he and Bolton First Selectman Robert A. Morra are working together on the issue.

“We are moving on this issue as a team on behalf of our citizens to protect this very important resource,” McCoy said in a statement. “This is an environmental need as well as a recreational need. This should be resolved soon.”

Rep. Pamela Z. Sawyer, R-Bolton, isn’t so sure, as experts have said it could take three years before the weed is gone for good.

“This stuff is like tumbleweeds — after it had seeded and grown, it floated to the top and it didn’t take much for the wind to move it down,” Sawyer said of the weed’s migration through the lake system.

The floating, hay-like plant chokes boat propellers, ensnares paddles, and could drag down a swimmer.

Residents have been pulling out the weed all summer, but now they’re finding more sprouts shooting up from the sand under the floating clumps, Sawyer said.

“I would really like an expert to tell me if these are new sprouts coming from seeds from the weeds in the water or some other source,” Sawyer added.

Waterfowl and geese likely introduced the weed to Bolton Lake by carrying the seeds from another infected pond, the state Department of Environmental Protection says.

A large draw down is a possibility this fall, and residents must still decide whether to use chemicals to kill the invasive plant, Sawyer said.

Diquat, a herbicide, would need to be applied for three consecutive years, DEP officials say.

For now, residents and officials want a consultant to tell them the best way to clean the lake, Stille said.

DEP says it could cost $20,000 this year, and $10,000 to $15,000 in each of the following two years.

Sawyer is trying to get state funds to help with the clean up effort.  Bolton, so far, has not contributed financially, Stille said.

This is not the first time Bolton Lake has battled invasive weeds. A few years back milfoil was the problem, and officials believe the town’s effectiveness in battling that weed may have allowed the slender water nymph to take hold.

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