Controlling weeds on Lake Iola
Lake district considers new plan
By Jane Myhra
The Lake Iola Lake District is considering a new weed management plan.
“No one seems happy with our current lake weed management plan that was set with the lake study about 10 years ago,” said John Bertelson, chair of the Lake Iola Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District.
According to Bertelson, the current plan involves chemically spraying invasive plants early, primarily Eurasian milfoil and curly leaf pondweed, then cutting about 45 acres of navigation paths when the other weeds have covered the surface of the lake.
He said the lake district hires a contractor to cut weeds for 160 hours during the summer, which is usually split into two 80-hour periods.
“The Onterra study, which we hope to begin next year, is our opportunity to modify our lake weed management plan, so I am hoping for as much community input as we can get,” Bertelson said. “The lake is a public resource, and it would be nice if more of the public is involved in this process.”
After a recent lake district meeting, Bertelson contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources concerning the possibility of a partial lake draw down over the winter to help control weeds.
“It is too late to consider it for this winter, but the DNR is willing to help us plan one as early as the winter of 2017-18,” Bertelson said.
A possible drawdown will be discussed at the October board meeting.
At a recent meeting, residents voiced concerns about no water passing over the dam and that the coldest water went through the mill.
“The water passing through the mill does not primarily take the colder water from the lake bottom, as is commonly believed, but instead it takes approximately a four-foot column of the top water that drops through the turbine wheel,” Bertelson said. “The lake drain is about three feet lower than the bottom of the mill intake, so the drain removes the coldest water from the lake during the few times it is opened.”
He noted Tom Fucik controls the mill turbine at the Historic Iola Mills, and maintains the records for the lake level and the use of the lake drain.
According to Bertelson, there are three outflows of water from the lake, which are the mill, the village spillway and the lake drain. The mill property contains the north part of the dam and the American Legion property contains the south part. The village is responsible for maintenance of the dam and for maintaining the lake level within the limits set by the DNR.
“How the water leaves the lake through the outflows requires cooperation between the village and the two property owners of the dam, with the role of the lake district being one of assistance as needed,” Bertelson said.
He also provided an update on the goose population, with 16 adult Canadian geese and 28 juveniles removed in late June. The cost for the geese removal was $2,158.
“It has to be done at least every three years to have an impact on the permanent goose population as mature geese return to where they were born to lay eggs,” Bertelson said, “and it takes about three years for female geese to become egg-layers.”