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Town board moves forward on lake treatment preparations in ongoing battle against milfoil

— The Cazenovia Town Board took steps at its latest monthly meeting to prepare the way for potential use of chemical treatment and weed harvesting of Cazenovia Lake this year in its continuing battle against milfoil weeds.

The board’s actions are part of its “overall integrated long-term control strategy” against invasive species in the lake that go beyond just chemical treatments to include multiple control techniques — a strategy that town board members hope will show great promise by the end of this year’s treatment period.

“I think we’re doing the right thing,” said Councilor Tom Driscoll. “There must be an integrated approach.”

Eurasian milfoil, an invasive plant that grows in dense stands that often reach the water’s surface and create floating mats of vegetation that hinder swimming and boating, has been spreading through Cazenovia Lake for years. It has been battled by the town through the use of the chemical herbicide Renovate (triclopyr) in 2009, 2010 and 2012. No chemical treatment was applied to the lake last year due to the cost and the shortened timetable to submit permit applications to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The results of a 2013 Cazenovia Lake aquatic plant survey, released in January, showed that milfoil more than doubled in the number of locations where it was found from 2012 to 2013, and one-third of all the milfoil in the lake were medium to dense in abundance. These results, coming after a year of no chemical treatment, contributed to the town board’s decision to address the issue of lake health and treatment during 2014 in a new way.

Instead of fighting the invasive weeds only with chemicals, the board decided to take a more “holistic approach” to the work that will include weed harvesting, benthic mats, possible biological solutions (introducing animals such as moths and weevils into the lake to eat the milfoil) and a continued focus on rainwater run-off mitigation in addition to use of Renovate, said Town Supervisor Bill Zupan.

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