TICONDEROGA - Eagle Lake residents will soon receive a survey letter, asking for their support in fighting milfoil.
The Ticonderoga town board approved the letter at its Feb. 10 meeting. The letter is another step in a process that started last fall when the Eagle Lake Property Owners, Inc. approached the Ticonderoga and Crown Point town boards, asking them to become "lead agents" in the application of a herbicide in the lake.
Eagle Lake is located partially in the town of Ticonderoga and partially in the town of Crown Point.
"Lead agent" status means one or both towns will prepare and sign the necessary permits for the herbicide use, will provide insurance for the project and help in notifying community members about the effort, according to Rolf Tiedemann, ELPOI project leader.
The herbicide application will be funded through the Crown Point Invasive Species Grant. There is to be no cost to local taxpayers.
"Milfoil is a mind-boggling problem for Eagle Lake," said Andy Belkevich, ELPOI president. "Eventually you'll be able to walk across the lake in a pair of snowshoes in July. That's how bad it is."
Ticonderoga and Crown Point have served as lead agents on previous Eagle Lake projects such as obtaining permits for hand harvesting of milfoil and three successful grant applications.
The hand harvesting and use of mats have failed to stop the milfoil, Belkevich said. In fact, he said, it's made the problem worse.
"When you hand harvest small pieces break off and float away," he explained. "Then it grows again. Hand harvesting actually spreads the problem."
Since its discovery in Eagle Lake in the 1970s eurasian water milfoil has been an ongoing problem, Tiedemann said. The ELPOI has spent $118,000 on hand harvesting milfoil and installation of mats aimed at reducing milfoil growth, he said.
The herbicide to be used is Renovate OTF. It has been successfully used in other lakes, has no adverse environmental impact and is approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Belkevich said.
Tiedemann said there are 90 residents living on Eagle Lake and all have verbally agreed to the use of the herbicide.
About 15 of those people use water from the lake for household needs, he said, but the herbicide will not impact them.
The Eagle Lake Property Owners, Inc. (ELPOI) was established in 1907 and incorporated in 1993 as a not-for-profit organization that serves to protect the interests of its property owners and to maintain the environmental and recreational quality of Eagle Lake.