Tricounty News

Eurasian Watermilfoil has been found in Clear Lake near Watkins

It turns out that Clear Lake near Watkins isn’t so clear.

The lake is being designated an “infested water” after the Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources discovered Eurasian Watermilfoil, an invasive plant species, growing in the lake in northern Meeker County.

By posting the lake as infested the DNR is hoping to alert boaters of the dangers of spreading the disease which has been discovered in more than 260 Minnesota lakes, rivers or streams.

“Boaters and anglers who use Clear Lake are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, anchors, decoys and other equipment,” Nicholas Brown, a DNR aquatic invasive species specialist said. “It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species or to launch watercraft with them attached.”

A DNR fisheries specialist first spotted the plant on the west side of the lake, but an inspection of the lake revealed a small growth of the plants on the north bay of the lake along the northeast shore.

The Clear Lake property owners were alerted of the infestation Wednesday, Aug. 7, said Guy Bobendrier, president of the property owner’s association.

“We’ve not known about it very long since it was discovered in July,” Bobendrier said, adding that the property owners had a meeting last Saturday to discuss the issue.

“I presented to them what we know,” he said. “What we know is that our contractor will be here to do a survey in either September or October. We’ll have a special meeting after that to discuss it.”

Bobendrier said that the DNR told him that the Eurasian Watermilfoil was not so bad that anyone should be alarmed.

“We are very concerned, not alarmed,” Bobendrier said. “We’re taking full action.”

Eurasian watermilfoil can form thick mats of vegetation and crowd out native aquatic plants, clog boat propellers and interfere with water recreation. Clear Lake is 529 acres and has a maximum depth of 18 feet.

For more information on aquatic invasive species, current infested waters, and how to prevent spread, visit: www.mndnr.gov/ais.