Posted: Jul 19, 2012 1:42 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 19, 2012 1:42 PM
KALISPELL- State officials are temporarily banning boats Beaver Lake north of Kalispell until they can get a handle on a problem with Eurasian watermilfoil.
The state first noticed the invasive plant growing in the small lake last summer and is worried boats could spread the milfoil to other area lakes including major waterbodies like Flathead and Whitefish lakes.
The temporary quarantine signed Wednesday closes the public boat ramp and prohibits both motorized and nonmotorized watercraft throughout the lake, except for personal floatation items such as inner tubes used by swimmers.
Dave Burch, weed program manager at the Montana Department of Agriculture, estimated that work to remove the aggressive, non-native water weed using dredge diving and bottom barriers could take up to a month.
The state says boats transported from lake to lake are the primary method by which watermilfoil is spread and that's likely the way the species arrived in Beaver Lake.
About 20 private cabin leases exist on Beaver Lake. The prohibition on boating also applies to them, Burch said. The department is working with the Montana Departments of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Natural Resources and Conservation as well as county weed districts to stop the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil, which also has been found on Toston Reservoir, the Lower Clark Fork River and portions of the Upper and Lower Missouri River.
The Montana Department of Agriculture will hold a public information meeting on Wednesday July 25, 2012 at 10 a.m. to inform the public on the temporary quarantine. The meeting will be held at the Flathead County Weed District conference room at 309 FFA Drive in Kalispell.