Weeding through the water

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Contractors who specialize in aquatic weed control will be in demand for the foreseeable future due to the unrelenting march of invasive species in lakes, ponds and other bodies of water. Treating these requires a good deal of knowledge of aquatic systems ecology, the plants that inhabit them and the treatment options available.

“The problem is huge,” says Jason Broekstra, vice president of Great Lakes Operations for PLM Lake & Management Corp. “People really don’t understand that if management of invasive species did not take place in our lakes, we wouldn’t have lakes. We’d have swamps; we’d have property values that would be worth nothing.”

Broekstra says his organization takes pains to educate people on aquatic weed control so they will understand why treatment of water bodies is often necessary.

“One of the misconceptions is that people think by using herbicides to manage nuisance species in lakes, everything is going to die,” he says. “Therefore, you’re going to throw off the balance in the ecosystem by taking oxygen production out of the lake and have fish kills. And basically, that’s not true.

A boat anchored in the center of a treatment zone allows workers from PLM Lake & Management Corp., to move the injection line throughout the treatment zone.

“If you manage the invasive species selectively, you can promote native plant diversity, get it more to its natural state. We’re trying to find the sustainability within that ecosystem. By controlling invasive species, you’re actually promoting native plants.”

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