The goal of milfoil management programs is control, not eradication.
Left unchecked, milfoil will spread throughout the littoral zone (the area where light penetrates) of a lake, can form dense beds, and outcompete and suppress native plants, including rare, threatened and endangered species.
Unmanaged milfoil can also:
- Impede recreational activities like fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming
- Decrease light penetration – limits photosynthesis and can cause algae blooms
- Decrease habitat complexity – reduces species biodiversity and impacts the food web
- Decrease oxygenation – lower oxygen can lead to algae blooms
- Increase sedimentation – a buildup of ‘muck’ and loss of water depth
- Increase nutrient loading – a release of phosphorus from the sediments causing algae blooms
- Accelerate eutrophication – enriching the lake with nutrients (phosphorus) which can lead to excessive plant and algae growth
- Affect pH and temperature levels – many aquatic organisms have a preferred pH and temperature range
As a perennial invasive aquatic plant, milfoil ‘keeps coming back.’ Whether an area was cleared of milfoil by hand-pulling, DASH, benthic barriers, or spot treatments of ProcellaCOR, milfoil is prolific, aggressive, and has the ability to grow in a wide range of environmental conditions. Uncontrolled milfoil can lead to fragments that can easily reseed newly controlled areas. By no means does this mean that the time, effort, and cost put into these control efforts is wasted, as the goal of these programs is to keep milfoil at manageable levels so that it’s not impacting lake health or recreational use.