A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been produced by a group of agencies to address the invasion of Eurasian watermilfoil in Beaver Lake, west of Whitefish.  Members of the Group include: FWP, Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana DNRC, Flathead County, Flathead Basin Commission, Whitefish Lake Institute, and others.

A 25’x25’ patch of Eurasian watermilfoil was found near the boat ramp last fall.  Barrier mats were placed on the weeds to limit growth and control further expansion in the lake. Eurasian watermilfoil can crowd native plants and change aquatic habitat.  The weed can also interfere with boating, swimming, and fishing.  If the infestation is not swiftly controlled, it could quickly spread resulting in costly control measures.  Beaver Lake is the only known water body that is infested by Eurasian watermilfoil in the Flathead system.

Jim Satterfield, R-1 Supervisor for FWP in Kalispell, noted that the draft EA is now out for public review through July 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm.  The EA covers herbicide application as well as mechanical removal of the weed. New information from ongoing sampling will be incorporated into the environmental analysis and the selected treatment.

For the time being, Beaver Lake remains open to recreation, but there may be closures associated with control actions.  Boaters, anglers, and others should avoid the infested area near the boat ramp, which is designated by buoys and signs.  All boaters should clean, dry, and inspect boats before and after launching them in Beaver Lake.

To review the Draft EA and submit your public comment, please click here.  A hardcopy can also be obtained by calling FWP at 752-5501.

People can comment on the EA by email: at:  mdeleray@mt.gov;  or mail to: Mark Deleray, FWP, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT  59901.

Logo courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

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