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Worried About Weeds

Yes, there may be weeds along the Detroit Lakes swimming beach, but no, they're not being ignored.

"We're seeing more of it because we're not cutting it," Pelican River Watershed District Administrator Tera Guetter said. "Before it was cosmetically you couldn't see it. People thought if you couldn't see it, they didn't think it was there. But it really was there."

After some mixed results with spot-treating the flowering rush, a few years ago the watershed district began treating Lake Detroit, Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie in full force.

The watershed district sprayed the invasive plants in mid-June and July, but the chemical company felt there would be better success if the weeds were treated in late summer. They are being sprayed this week.

"We have lower water levels, so we get more plant exposure above the surface because the chemical we're using only works on emergent vegetation," Guetter explained.

The watershed district is researching another product that may work on submergent plants. They are setting up select areas to test next year, like the swimming beach on Little Detroit Lake, for example.

Looking at the swimming beach now, it seems to be taken over by weeds.

"What happens is between the leaf rollers and boat prop activity, we get a lot of plant breakage, and these roots are floating on the surface and then they wash in and re-establish," she said.

This year the PRWD is treating Curfman Lake, Big and Little Detroit lakes -- anything along the Pelican River between Detroit and Mill Pond -- Muskrat Lake, Lake Sallie, Lake Melissa and Mill Pond.

"Here's some breaking news -- the DNR did a delineation for us in July, and they also found a couple clumps of flowering rush on Buck Lake," Guetter said.

"It's starting to move down the chain. We're trying to implement this rapid response program where we need to get at this quickly before it keeps moving down the chain."

People aren't going to see much difference or improvement on the flowering rush population this summer yet, but next spring, it shouldn't re-grow.

"We'll still have to keep vigilance. If there are any plants that are submergent, this (treatment) isn't effective on it. That's why we're trying to find another product that treats the submergent infestations," she said.