Eurasian Water Milfoil


Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) is a fast growing plant that spreads quickly. First discovered on the Chain in 2004, it soon became a threat to navigation for recreational boaters and fishermen.

The most effective and agreed upon management method is the use of an herbicide designed to destroy Eurasian Water Milfoil. The herbicide is applied during the early spring growth and prior to the emergence of native species.

Annually, ERCLA volunteers, who have been trained by professional lake ecologists, survey each of the lakes for EWM during the mid to late summer and this data helps determine treatment for the next year. In addition, the Unified Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission (ULERCLC) provides the necessary oversight to enable grant funding to be obtained to manage Eurasian Water Milfoil.

Eurasian Water Milfoil can never be eradicated, but it can be controlled. It is important for ERCLA to support the work of the Commission and to continue ongoing management efforts to protect and enhance the waters of the Eagle River Chain of Lakes.

The results of our treatment efforts have been overwhelmingly positive. The treatment areas have been reduced from 278 acres in 2007 to just 20 acres in 2016. In fact, no herbicide treatment occurred in 2017 because the effects of prior treatments were still working so well.

A pilot program of hand-harvesting EWM took place in 2016 and 2017 on Voyageur, Scattering Rice and Watersmeet Lakes. The initial results have been positive. EWM is currently at a manageable level, and now the emphasis has shifted to maintaining a level of EWM tolerance and not allow the population to return to pre-management levels.

The Commission website has complete information about the Milfoil management program.