Hydrilla treatment on Deep Creek Lake starts on June 11. Below is the text of a letter sent from the DNR to Deep Creek Lake property owners. Thank you to the Friends of Deep Creek Lake for alerting us to this information.
Dear Deep Creek Lake property owner:
As you may have heard, an invasive aquatic plant, Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) was found in Deep Creek Lake last fall. Hydrilla is a listed noxious weed (Federal Noxious Weed Act -- Public Law 93-629 (7 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.; 88 Stat. 2148), and its presence prompted the Department of Natural Resources(DNR) to develop a management plan. Its quick growth rate, abilities to grow under low light conditions and in deep water can unbalance the lake ecosystem and will negatively impact recreation, fishing and boating. Hydrilla was found in thirteen different locations, with patches ranging in size from 1 square yard up to five acres. The patches were all found in the southern arm of the lake known as Deep Creek Cove last September. DNR initiated its rapid response plan to evaluate a new invasive species by forming an independent panel of aquatic scientists from several states that have experienced Hydrilla infestations to advise us on a course of action. After discussing all of the possible options to control Hydrilla, DNR and the panel agreed that an herbicide treatment program was the most effective strategy. The herbicide treatment will begin on June 11, 2014. Five treatments will be conducted every three weeks over the course of the summer by Aquatic Environment Consultants, Inc. (AEC). AEC has 25 years experience with Hydrilla management in the Delmarva region and were contracted by the Maryland Environmental Service to treat all of the infestations with fluridone, trade name SonarOneTM.
Boat traffic will only be affected on the five treatment days, and those dates will be advertised on the DNR website at http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/deepcreeknrma.aspx
Natural Resource Police and state park ranger boats will redirect boat traffic on these dates to maintain a safe distance from the herbicide application vessel. Buoys will be set up to cordon off the area where the herbicide applicator is working, and no boat traffic will be permitted in the treatment area. Once treatment is complete, the buoys will be removed, and regular boat traffic may resume. If you are a resident of Hazelhurst Cove, boating restrictions will be more difficult. Due to the large infestation of Hydrilla in Moorings Cove (5 acres), the treatment area will cover the entire cove. If you wish to operate your boats on the day of treatment, they will need to be out of the cove by 8:00 AM, or you will need to wait until the application is finished to operate. Please refrain from coming out on your docks, swimming or operating canoes and kayaks while the treatment is underway, as the applicator needs to maintain a safe distance. This could slow down the treatment process.
Follow-up treatments with contact herbicide may be necessary. Flumioxizin, trade name ClipperTM, will be used to treat any plants that may remain, but the herbicide will be injected into the water with subsurface injectors. DNR Fisheries biologists will conduct the contact herbicide application. During follow-up sampling, if any Hydrilla is detected by divers, locations will be marked and the contact treatment will follow immediately. Between treatments, DNR biologists will be monitoring water quality, particularly dissolved oxygen, while also surveying treatment areas. No change in boat traffic will be necessary. However, most of these monitoring events will involve biologists snorkeling and scuba diving to conduct the surveys. According to state law, you must maintain 100 feet of distance between you and any vessel flying a dive flag or Alpha flag (see figures below). Please respect this regulation in the future to protect the safety of the biologists conducting the survey.
Do not use lake water to water garden, lawn or plants. Fluridone is an herbicide--it kills plants. It does this by being absorbed by the plant’s leaves. Watering your garden with lake water between initial treatment date through the end of the treatment invites this risk. The water is safe for pets and for swimming.
DNR will provide additional information on the aforementioned website on herbicides, safety concerns, frequently asked questions, and how to responsibly operate and clean your vessel in the presence of Hydrilla. Please refer to these documents to educate yourself on Hydrilla and to understand how you can help minimize the spread of this invasive species. If you suspect your cove has Hydrilla, please refer to the photos in this letter to determine if what you are seeing is Hydrilla, and then contact Mark Lewandowski at firstname.lastname@example.org to give locations and a gps coordinate.
Please remember that Hydrilla reproduces via fragmentation, so if you suspect you have seen Hydrilla, refrain from boating in or around it, as your propeller can cut plants into smaller pieces, which can then reproduce.
DNR is working hard to ensure the overall health of Deep Creek Lake, the safety of our citizens, as well as the economic benefit the lake provides to the community. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your adherence to the above requirements. Thank you and we’ll see you on the Lake.
Diver Flag warning-- Vessels flying one or both of the flags below are tending to divers underwater. Coast Guard regulations state that vessels must maintain a 100’ berth around a vessel flying either flag (300’ for marine boats). Boaters are advised to avoid these vessels so the biologists working on the surveys can conduct their investigations and your vessel does not affect safety or visibility.