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Chemical targets invasive weeds

| June 12, 2010 9:00 PM

Time to whack some weeds.

Well, Eurasian Watermilfoil, that is.

Kootenai County Noxious Weed Control has contracted an aquatic weed management company to apply herbicide treatments in portions of Cave and Medicine lakes late this month.

The herbicide is intended to kill only Eurasian Watermilfoil, a treatment Commissioner Rick Currie said has been used in the county for many years.

"It (Eurasian Watermilfoil) is a noxious product. If we didn't (apply chemicals), it would continue to grow and take over those respective lakes and also move on," Currie said. "It's best we try to keep it in check."

The same treatment is applied at Hayden Lake, he said.

The county also battles the weed with human labor, he said, with scuba teams collecting the milfoil.

"Sometimes it's better to use chemicals, depending on the situation," he explained.

A county notice cautioned that within one-quarter mile of herbicide treatment sites, water use restrictions apply, including no human consumption, food crop irrigation or watering until the herbicide residue reaches Environmental Protection Agency minimums.

Residents can learn when restrictions are lifted at www.kcweeds.com, or by calling 446-1295 for the recording of restriction updates.

Currie said he is no expert on noxious weeds and didn't know the potential hazards of the herbicide.

"Obviously we would never contaminate a lake, but the residents need to be aware that we're doing it," he said.

Linda Ely, county weed supervisor, said she didn't have time to comment on Friday.

The county has contracted the weed management company in conjunction with federal and state agencies.

No more than 30 acres of the lakes will be treated, according to the county notice.

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