Douglas County commissioners have agreed to take a year off from spraying a herbicide in Lone Star Lake to kill the annual spring crop of curly leaf pond weed.
But commissioners also want to come up with a long-term plan to help cabin owners in the southwestern part of the lake deal with the weeds.
“It just seems like there ought to be more than that one tool in the toolbox,” Commissioner Nancy Thellman said.
Members of the Lone Star Lake Association sought permission Wednesday night to pay the county about $1,000 to apply the chemical Aquathol-K in the shallow water around their boat docks. The weed puts a hardship on boat motors and presents other safety issues, they said.
Richard Sanders, a district fisheries biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, recommended that the county not apply the herbicide this year to see how the lake reacted after treatments the past three years.
Cabin owners at Wednesday’s meeting were open to a long-term plan for weed control at the lake, but they also wanted the commission to authorize the treatment this year.
“It looks a lot better than it did, but I think if we do nothing, it will get back to just the way it was before,” said Bill Schulteis, who owns a cabin on the lake.
Sanders said the seasonal weed likely would die off in June anyway when the water gets warmer.
The issue has persisted for several years with some area environmentalists and fishermen opposed to spraying the herbicide in the lake because they said the weeds provide a nursery for fish during the spawning season.
“From a fisherman’s viewpoint, it’s been a godsend. It’s really helped us out,” said Ned Kehde, an area fisherman.
Commissioners are expected to take the issue up again in the fall after county staff members gather more information about alternate ways to control the weeds near the boat docks.
“If you came up with a long-term plan, we’d be very open to that,” said Paula Schumacher, who also owns a cabin in the area.