New Brighton City Council takes action to fight invasive species

National Invasive Species Awareness Week ended March 3 but the City of New Brighton is far from calling it quits.

During the Feb. 28 meeting, the New Brighton City Council approved an agreement with the Long Lake Improvement Association for a single invasive species treatment.

The council action will provide $15,000 of funding from the general budget to the lake association for the 2017 year. The treatment will help eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed from Long Lake in New Brighton.

Eurasian watermilfoil was first noticed in Long Lake in the summer of 2015, according to LLIA. It grows quickly in the spring and summer, up to several inches a day. Per the June 2016 lake survey, milfoil is the next prevalent species behind curly-leaf pondweed and was found in half of the samples conducted.

Curly-leaf pondweed is one of the first weeds to show itself in the spring and usually dies off by July but it still remains the dominant species of Long Lake.

Curly-leaf pondweed causes problems by producing extensive mats in shallow water.

During the Feb. 14 council meeting, several New Brighton residents addressed the council regarding their concerns on invasive species and the impact they have on the lake.

New Brighton resident Lloyd Peterson said that over the past 10 years the lake has become exceedingly worse but 2015 proved to be a tipping point.

“This last year has gotten exceptionally bad,” said Peterson. “We have people that take jet skis out and once they start going into the weeds all of a sudden their jet skis stop because the weeds get caught up inside the engine. Eventually the lake is going to get choked out and people aren’t going to be able to utilize it.”

Because the city’s agreement with LLIA will only address the immediate needs of the lake, LLIA has been working with state and county agencies to secure funding and develop a long term plan to continue the remediation process.

“This is a one year commitment – it is not an ongoing thing,” said New Brighton Mayor Val Johnson. “Where the commitment does lie is that we are asking citizens and also councilmembers and others to contact their legislatures, senators, the DNR and other people so that we can get this brought to the forefront and get it taken care of in future years. By not taking action now we would be putting the lake in jeopardy of having twice as much of this by this time next year.”

The council unanimously approved the agreement with the exception of councilmember Gina Bauman, who recused herself from voting because she lives on the lake. However, she said she is in favor of the treatment.

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Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]