We have a problem!
It was just one month ago that we posted an article on Elodea; the invasive plant that has invaded Devils Lake. At that time I had personally only experienced the weed as it grew along my shoreline. I was shocked, as this plant had consumed 70% of the bottom of the lake near my shoreline. Since that time I put my boat in and took a tour of the lake. Oh my!
For those of you who have not been on the lake this year, here is a summary from those initial observations. What I found was that the elodea extends much further into the lake than just along the shoreline. The Western portion of the lake from Regatta Park to the D River seems to be the highest concentration with plants just below the surface over the majority of that portion of the lake. I recommend not boating here, and if you're a jet ski operator, really don’t go there. The Brown Bear State Park boat ramp is so clogged with weeds it is nearly impossible to launch without fouling your prop. As you move East from that point you will find elodea growing along both shorelines up through Sandpoint and North to the marina. The small bay to the South of Sandpoint as well at the far end of the marina leg are similar to the East end, a real mess. The center of the lake from Sandpoint where the depth is 18 ft seems clear of elodea however it's so deep it may simply not be visible. The same is true of the upper bay of the lake. These clear areas however do contain large floating rafts of the weeds that must be avoided. Continuing along the shoreline on the East Devils Lake side you will find plants some forty feet from shore. The shoreline from Lake Point through Neotsu however, is some of the clearest in the lake. There is no denying; the extent of the growth is simply overwhelming.
And that's just the elodea. As the summer continues we know that the Vallisneria (eelgrass) will begin to grow. As of this week stands of eelgrass have reached about two feet. This plant, unlike elodea, dies off during the winter, so it had some catching up to do. By September the eelgrass will begin to flower which brings spiral extensions to the surface which become a navigational hazard.
This is all very bad news however as a community we stand a chance to put some measures in place that can improve the situation. Devil's lake Neighborhood Association is committed to helping in this community effort. Your involvement in this effort is the power behind the neighborhood association, so we need you more than ever. To that end we've added a few new pages to our website. You'll find a grassroots page where we will post sample letters and emails as well as contact information for key decision makers that should be contacted. We also have created a gallery page where we ask homeowners to help by sharing their images of your exposure to the weeds and of your efforts to combat this problem. A picture is worth a thousand words, so please share so we may educate these decision makers. More on how to do that in another article.
Please join in and help us with this effort by clicking the volunteer button to the right. If you have a special talent that can be put to use, (i.e. graphics or web designer, YouTube creator, good writer, good speaker, attorney, nice smile) please make us aware of it. In most years we only ask for donations for our annual fireworks display. Those funds are earmarked for that purpose and cannot be used generally. Unfortunately, because of that the balance of general funds is quite small. Consider making a donation to the general fund so we may widen our opportunities to address this issue.
As we move through the summer, I would ask you all to be patient with everybody in the community. This is frustrating and we often want to find someone to blame. In this case, I assure you everyone is on the same page and we are all invested in saving Devils Lake. Let’s blame Mother Nature and get ramped up for this effort, define our solutions and show our support.