A representative from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently visited Lake Iola to assess some of the weed problems there.
“The biggest problem for lakeshore residents are the wetland grasses that are growing along their shorelines,” said DNR Biologist Ted Johnson.
Reed Canary Grass can be seen growing along several properties around the lake.
“This seems to be the biggest nuisance,” he said. “These plants grow in six inches of water or more and will die on their own in time. You can hand-pull them and they will not come back. You can tell that their root system is already rooting by how easily you can pull them out.”
Johnson noted that chemical treatment was also an option, but would require a DNR permit.
Another area of concern is the spreading of aquatic invasive species like Eurasian Milfoil (EWM) and Curly Leaf Pondweed.
“We need to be diligent to not let these plants become too abundant in the lake,” Johnson said. “The drawdown nearly eliminated EWM, but it is an aggressive plant that could become dominant. If we see it becoming a problem, it would be a good idea to initiate control measures like hand-pulling and/or chemical treatments.”
Johnson said a winter drawdown a couple of times a decade would be beneficial.
“Lake Iola is still a nutrient rich lake,” he said. “Drawing it down 2-3 feet during the winter months will help take care of the milfoil.”
Winter drawdowns would also help maintain the increased lake depths that were achieved due to the past drawdown.
“Any drawdowns are a voluntary action,” said Johnson. “It is up to the lake residents to decide if they would like to pursue this.”
Johnson pointed out plants such as Arrowhead and Bladder Wart that are of high value.
“The key is finding the right balance,” he said. “It will take a couple of years for the lake to reach its equilibrium.”
“Please be patient and look at the entire lake when assessing the effectiveness of the drawdown,” said Johnson. “I recommend taking a boat or canoe ride from the Tresness Road bridge down through the main lake. Water depths have improved the most on the upper end of the lake.”
“The original thought was to draw the lake all the way down, but we couldn’t,” Johnson said. “I understand that it has created some hardships and I am willing to help.”