Squash Lake Association’s 2010 Plan to Preserve its Natural Treasure from the Potential Devastation of the Aquatic Invasive Species, Eurasian Water-milfoil

By Stephanie Boismenue, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, Squash Lake Association

During the 20210 season, the Squash Lake Association will preserve the lake’s natural treasure (it’s healthy ecosystem) from the potential devastation of Eurasian Water-milfoil (EWM) by hand harvesting. This will be done by trained scuba divers and trained snorkelers. By “trained”, I mean trained by professionals and as outlined by the DNR in the following areas:

1. Plant Identification – how to recognize native aquatic plants from non-native plants.

Why is this important?
Because EWM, which is an Aquatic Invasive Species, looks almost identical to the Native Water-milfoil. It is extremely important that the native milfoil remains in place. Don’t forget, that EWM is an opportunistic species and if it finds a bare spot to take root, it will do just that — take root and start a new colony. The more native plants that remain in the lake, the better chance that we have of fighting the EWM.

Native milfoil plays an important role in the lakes ecosystem. The life that lives within Squash Lake is dependent upon every native aquatic plant in the lake – in many capacities such as: for food, spawning and nursery areas, and protection from predators.

2. Harvesting Techniques—as defined by the DNR and coordinated with our professional harvesters.

3. How to mark the coordinates of the harvested plants with a GPS

4. Weighing the EWM as it is removed

5. Proper disposal.

In addition, the Squash Lake Association will also focus on monitoring the entire lake for EWM. Indeed, Squash Lake will be a busy body of water this summer.

2010 Goals
• To preserve Squash Lake’s natural treasure from the potential devastation of EWM.
•Removal of EWM – Single, Few, and Clumps of Plants: Hand harvesting to completely remove all single, few, and clumps of EWM plants and their root systems from the locations that have been identified and mapped by Onterra, LLC, and from any newly discovered plants.
• Removal of EWM – Larger Plant Colonies: Hand harvesting EWM plants and their root system’s to reduce the larger plant colonies to the greatest extent possible- by at least 50% and manage any remaining populations.
• Protect the native plant populations.
• Rapidly respond to new populations of EWM.
• Monitor the entire lake for EWM and other aquatic invasive species- starting at ice out and ending at ice in-every year.
• Recruit as many Squash Lake waterfront property owners as possible to serve as EWM Volunteer Milfoil Monitors
• A volunteer Monitor Captain will be designated to each section of the lake and they will oversee and coordinate the Volunteer Milfoil Monitors within their designated area.
• Train the Squash Lake Volunteer Milfoil Monitors in plant identification, hand harvesting techniques, recording and reporting data of existing and any new finding as outlined by the WI DNR.
• Inform all Squash Lake waterfront property owners and other lake recreationalists of the known EWM locations within Squash Lake and the importance of navigating away from those areas.
• Develop an EWM alert signs to be placed at the Squash Lake boat landing. This will include a map of locations of EWM in Squash Lake.
• Ensure that the DNR’s boat landing signage is in place.
• Update and improve the educational/informational material on the kiosk located at Squash Lake’s boat landing.

The above goals will end December 31, 2010.
During 2010, the Squash Lake Association and Onterra will start working on Comprehensive Management Plan.