A group of agencies have formed a task force to address the invasion of Eurasian Watermilfoil in Beaver Lake, west of Whitefish. A large patch of the exotic weed was found on the bottom of the lake near the boat ramp last fall. Mats, or benthic barriers, were placed on the weeds to limit growth and control further expansion in the lake.
Jim Satterfield, R-1 Supervisor for FWP in Kalispell, noted that the task force will work to produce an Environmental Assessment (EA) that will be out for public review later this spring. Members of the Group include: FWP, Montana DNRC, Flathead County, Flathead Basin Commission, Whitefish Lake Institute, and others.
The patch of Eurasian Milfoil will be monitored closely to follow the effects of the initial control effort. As the water temperature warms, biologists will conduct monitoring to see if the milfoil distribution expands to other parts of the lake.
New information from ongoing sampling will be incorporated into the environmental analysis. The EA may propose additional measures that could include chemical control as well as mechanical control of the weed.
For the time being, Beaver Lake remains open to recreation. Boaters, anglers, and others should avoid the infested area near the boat ramp, which is designated by buoys and signs. All boaters should clean, dry, and inspect boats before and after launching them in Beaver Lake.