October 25, 2021

Standing against invasives

Group to try a new treatment on Little York Lake

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Matthew Warner of Tully and his 11-year-old daughter, Molly, leave the boat launch at Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble to go fishing Thursday. Residents of the lake plan to treat part of it to reduce milfoil and other invasive species.

The Little York Lake Preservation Society is preparing to treat parts of the Preble lake in July for an invasive algae after treating part of the lake in June for a different aquatic plant.

“We should see results by the end of the week,” said Don Fisher, the secretary of the society about the treatment for milfoil. “It takes about a week. We’re optimistic that our treatment will work.”

On June 18, the society treated 13 new acres of the lake for variable-leaf milfoil, which grows back year after year. It’s an aquatic plant that produces a short, emergent floral spike above the waterline, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It’s an issue the group has been dealing with for almost a decade; it was getting tangled around people’s feet and in boat propellers ruining the recreation people spent on the lake.

“It will be in the lake for the rest of our lives,” Fisher said. “But we’re trying to minimize it so we can use the lake.”

This year, the group decided on a new treatment — ProcellaCOR — which has only been registered for use by the Department of Environmental Conservation in the state for about a year.

“All the feedback was positive,” Fisher said. “It’s more effective toward milfoil. It seems like the better solution.”

Fisher said they could begin seeing results by the end of this week.

Stop the spread

  • Check your boating and fishing equipment for invasive species.
  • Clean any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
  • Drain all water-holding compartments, including ballast tanks, live wells and bilge areas.
  • Dry boats, trailers and all equipment before use in another waterbody.
  • Disinfect anything that came into contact with water if it cannot be dried before reuse.

Source: State Department of Environmental Conservation

In May 2019, with approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Solitude Lake Management administered the herbicide Navigate to 18 acres of the 110-acre lake for around $16,000, paid for by property owners and the Soil and Water Conservation District. The areas that were treated included the boat launch at Dwyer Memorial Park, other public access areas and some areas near private properties. That herbicide worked much better in some areas — eliminating it completely — but not so well in others, Fisher said in a follow-up report given to legislators in December.

In July, the group also plans to treat the invasive species starry stonewort with herbicide. Starry stonewort is a bushy and bright green macroalgae that looks like a green carpet covering the bottom of the lake.The cost for both treatments will be around the same as last year’s costs $15,000 to $20,000, Fisher said.

The algae is still being studied by the DEC, but according to the DEC’s website, the invasive species has the potential to crowd out native plants that provide food and shelter for fish and invertebrates.

“Because of our public boat launch, we get a lot of invasive species here,” Fisher said.

The DEC said starry stonewort is transferred by mud, but “can also be spread by fragments and is often found near docks and marinas, indicating that watercraft likely transport this algae from site to site.”

To help combat that and make sure the invasive species aren’t spread to other bodies of water, the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation had a waterless boat cleaning station installed at Dwyer Memorial Park on Memorial Day, said Amanda Barber, the district manager.

“It has been used 75 times since Memorial Day,” she said.

The station was paid for using a state grant for invasive species management.