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Smith Cove milfoil will be treated sooner rather than later

May 26, 2010
Alan Kirkman of the Lake Shore Park Association has requested that the proposed aquatic plant control outline to tackle milfoil with herbicides be bumped up from 2012 to 2010.

After more research, Kirkman informed the Conservation Commission last week that it may be necessary to use chemicals such as 2,4-D now rather than later in the Smith Cove area in Gilford, where he said milfoil is rapidly growing out of control.

Kirkman said chemical use would be followed up by alternative treatments to herbicides, including installing barrier replacements and hand pulling methods to maintain and reduce variable milfoil in the water.

"We really do need another hit," said Kirkman last Tuesday night.

He said nine acres would now be treated with 2,4-D in 2010, almost half the amount of acres as previously planned for 2012.

The hand pulling technique proves to be effective if done consistently, although it can be a time consuming and laborious job if milfoil is already out of control, which is why an earlier dose of chemicals may be needed.

"Last year we did hand pulling at Smith Cove, but it gets mucky and hard for the divers to see. The boats turn up a lot of muck and the marina is only five feet deep then the water goes down in the summer," said Kirkman. "This year, we plan to spread out the pulling more."

With over 158 boats moving in and out of the marina on Lake Shore, Kirkman said this is beginning to cause a problem with streams and brooks which carry out contaminants to larger sources of water.

He said he is also looking at different waste water systems for the future, although right now, he wants to focus on hand pulling after what he refers to as a final chemical treatment, which put the commissioners somewhat at ease.

"Help us with milfoil this year, and through 2015, hopefully it won't be a problem," said Kirkman. "Right now the concentration (of milfoil in the water) is too great. Breaking it up would encourage more seeding and regrowth. No more pesticides after this. We will pull as much as we have to after the final treatment."

Last year, the Conservation Commission granted the Lake Shore Park Association $3,100 to continue on with research and treatment of milfoil in the water. This year, Kirkman asked for $4,000 and was again granted $3,100 (already appropriated within the commission budget) to continue on with hand pulling after a last dose of treatment.

After this final treatment, Kirkman promised if any 2, 4-D were again used before 2014, the Conservation Commission would be refunded and able to put their $3,000 elsewhere.

"I don't feel any different than anyone else about using chemicals," said Conservation Commission Chairman John Goodhue. "I hate them, but it's a fact of life. The money alone, regardless of what else they do, will go to hand pulling."

Due to a rising concern over milfoil in the surrounding waters, the Conservation Commission is in the process of forming an official Gilford Milfoil Committee, which will consist of various members of the commission, along with Kirkman as a volunteer member.

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