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Dickinson considers milfoil funding requests

April 10, 2012
By JIM ANDERSON - News Editor , The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - Dickinson County budgeted $8,500 in 2012 to help lake associations battle milfoil, but requests for funding keep coming.

On Monday, the county board tabled a request from the Carney Lake Association for $1,500 to help buy milfoil-eating weevils. The Carney Lake proposal, along with a request for an extra $2,500 from the Lake Antoine Association, will be reviewed at a committee meeting next week.

"We want to be able to discuss them at length," said Commissioner Joe Stevens, the county's parks chairman. Milfoil invasions, he continued, are "a battle that's never going to stop."

For milfoil control, the county's 2012 budget sets aside $2,500 for Lake Antoine, $2,500 for Sawyer Lake, $2,500 for the Hamilton Chain of Lakes and $1,000 for discretionary funding, according to Kay Pascoe, county controller.

That spending covers just a fraction of the cost for milfoil control, which typically involves chemical treatments supplemented by weevil plantings.

Jean O'Dette, secretary-treasurer of the Carney Lake Association, said the group has spent nearly $40,000 battling milfoil since 2003, in addition to volunteer labor and unreimbursed personal expenses.

The $1,500 requested from the county would enable the group to buy an additional 2,000 weevils, association representative Butch Hiatt told the board.

The cost for an herbicide application of 20 acres at Lake Antoine is estimated at $12,500 to $15,000, plus $400 in permitting fees to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, according to Lake Antoine Association board member Jean Constantini. That would still leave more than 30 acres of Lake Antoine milfoil untreated. The Lake Antoine group is asking for $5,000 from the

county to help pay for both chemical treatments and weevil stocking.

Funding will be discussed at a county meeting Tuesday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the correctional center's conference room.

"We're further ahead than a lot of counties in the U.P.," Stevens said of milfoil control efforts. Dickinson is probably one of the few counties that provides assistance to lake associations, he added.

Eurasian milfoil is an invasive plant that often forms a thick canopy at the lake surface that can seriously hinder boating and other recreational activity. Because small pieces of milfoil can break off, take root, and form new plants, milfoil may displace more desirable plants and become dominant.

A study conducted for the Lake Antoine Association in 2008 by Cason & Associates of Berlin, Wis., identified the milfoil in Lake Antoine as a hybrid cross between Eurasian milfoil and the native northern watermilfoil. Hybrid milfoil, research has shown, may require repeated herbicide treatments over several years to be successfully controlled.

Jim Anderson's email address is



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