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PRIEST LAKE MILFOIL SURVEY

Posted July 2008

For a number of years, SCA has been involved in Eurasian milfoil surveys of Priest Lake. Eurasian milfoil has been found in a variety of places in each year of survey since 2006, e.g. in the Bear Creek Wetlands and in the Kaniksu Resort area.

With the aid of volunteers and expert Sharon Sorby, the Selkirk Cooperative Weed Management Area Chair, SCA organized a training program for monitors to look for and identify Eurasian Milfoil.  This highly destructive invasive aquatic plant is infesting lakes and rivers across the northwest and is enormously expensive to control unless infestations are discovered and removed before they become firmly established.  Keeping the invasive variety of milfoil out of Priest Lake is a high priority for SCA and we will expand our monitoring program next summer.    

Monitoring, however, is only part of the solution.  SCA is advocating a mandatory boat cleaning program as the weed is routinely spread by plant fragments attached to boats arriving from other infested lakes and rivers. Jet skis and jet boats are particularly problematic since plant parts are retained in the engine intake and thus easily exhausted into pristine waters. SCA would  like to see prohibition of  these machines until it can be established that they can be adequately cleaned. We will continue to monitor this problem and with prompt attention and a proactive management plan, we may be able to protect Priest Lake from further infestation.

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