Last fall we introduced you to Eelgrass an aquatic plant known otherwise as Vallisneria americana. The annual growth on this plant becomes visible beginning late June to early July. By late July elgrass clumps are at times in conflict with our use of the lake. Understandably people are looking online for solutions and have been trying various options around the lake.
One of these options could harm the lake more than it helps. Harvesting eelgrass which includes mowing, raking or uprooting, the plant will propagate eelgrass over a much greater area, and in a greatly reduced time-frame. Harvesting eelgrass and letting some or worse yet all of the plant material cut or uprooted to escape accelerates eelgrass’ primary method of propagation. During the summer months these bits of eelgrass make landfall along the Eastern shore where they take root and begin to grow. Come fall the winds will shift steering the grass right back toward the Western shore. Get my drift? For this reason,
We would ask homeowners to refrain from attempting to harvest the eelgrass by cutting, raking, or uprooting, until better options can be identified.
I apologize that this article falls short in providing any alternative to harvesting. We felt it important to get this request out during the summer season. We will try to provide more information in future articles related to eelgrass. It’s important to remember that eelgrass will be a part of a healthy Devils Lake, its seeds, roots and leaves are consumed by ducks and other waterfowl; while its dense underwater structures provide an excellent habitat for invertebrates and fish. With proper management we will have a more properly balanced lake ecosystem and a healthier lake for all.