GLEA reconsiders dredging Trinkie Lagoon in 2022

Representatives from the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency have used hand pulling as a method to remove the invasive species starry stonewort from Trinkie Lagoon. But that method has not seemed to prevent the spread of the species, so now the agency is considering dredging the lagoon. Connor Carynski

Posted on October 13, 2021

Representatives from the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency are, once again, considering dredging Trinkie Lagoon to remove an invasive species.

Ted Peters, director of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, announced plans to dredge the lagoon during a special budget meeting conducted by the Lake Geneva City Council’s Finance, Licensing & Regulation Committee, Sept. 23.

The dredging would be to remove an invasive species known as starry stonewort, which was first found in the lagoon during the summer of 2018.

Peters said the environmental agency has considered dredging the lagoon in the past, and now feels it may be the best method for removing the starry stonewort.

“It’s been looked at— considered to be dredged and considered not to be dredged,” Peters said. “Right now, it looks like the board of the GLEA voted to dredge it again and to go back and revisit that issue.”

Peters said dredging the lagoon would cost about $700,000. He proposed that communities around Geneva Lake, as well as area businesses and organizations, share in the cost with the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency to help pay for the dredging.

He said the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency also plans to apply for grants and conduct fundraisers to help raise money for the project.

“I think every group around this lake, including the many merchants, depend upon this lake and the quality of this lake, and I think kicking in to support the management of this lake— specifically to deal with an aquatic invasive species— to me seems like the right way to go,” Peters said. “There’s been some discussion on doing some heavy-duty fundraising to support this project.”

Peters said the dredging probably would not take place until fall 2022.

“So we got some time, but the permit process has started,” Peters said. “We hired an engineer, and the process has started and we’re moving forward.”

Peters said the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency spent about $25,000 this year to hand pull the starry stonewort. He said the agency plans to continue to hand pull the starry stonewort next year, but does not feel it is an effective method for preventing the spread of the species.

“I don’t think we’re going to be doing as much hand pulling next year,” Peters said. ‘”We got to kind of see what the results of this year were, but we’re getting a little disappointed with the hand pulling. We’re getting the biomass out of there, but we’re not stopping the populations.”

Peters said the agency has treated the species with chemicals, but that method does not seem to prevent the spread of the starry stonewort.

“Every chemical treatment we’ve done, as well as other chemical treatments in Wisconsin, have proven to be useless,” Peters said. “They may brown the plant, knock it down a little bit, but it doesn’t do anything to prevent the plant to reproduce. Often times, as with any other weed, once you threaten that plant it gets more aggressive.”

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