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Invasive Weed Clogs Lake Despite Efforts to Control It
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Ever since the 1980s people who spend time on Candlewood Lake have had to contend with an invasive plant that clogs up the water. Tonight a forum is being held at Western Connecticut State University to discuss what can be done to control the plant.

Eurasian milfoil is a feathery weed, native to Europe and Asia that grows aggressively in Connecticut’s lakes. It was first sold in the U.S. as an aquarium plant, but today it grows in nearly every state in the country. And can be found in 40 lakes and ponds in Connecticut.  Eurasian milfoil started to be a problem in Candlewood Lake in the early 1980s. Larry Marsicano of the Candlewood Lake Authority says some years the plant forms a thick canopy in shallow areas, making it difficult for boaters and unpleasant for swimmers.

“When it’s really thick, when you have hundreds of stems  coming out of the sediment, per square meter for instance, that becomes a problem.”

There have been several efforts to control the plant. Scientists are testing out a kind of weevil that breaks down the stems. In addition, FirstLight Power Resources, a hydro electric company which owns Candlewood Lake, draws down the water in the winter. Every other year the company does what’s called a “deep draw down”, exposing the plants to freezing temperatures, killing many of them. But the company only does a deep draw down every other year to avoid killing off native plants and other aquatic life. Despite these efforts, Eurasian milfoil continues to be a nuisance.

For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.