Ministry of Environment
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Report: Management Plan for Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in the Okanagan, British Columbia

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The goal of the Okanagan Eurasian watermilfoil control program is to minimize environmental impacts while enhancing public enjoyment of Okanagan mainstem lakes using a cost effective and efficient program. As a result of the program, many residents in the Okanagan today are only passingly aware of Eurasian watermilfoil; a sharp contrast from the late 1970s when Eurasian watermilfoil was prominent in public and media discussion.

Author:  Genevieve Dunbar; Okanagan Basin Waterboard

Date Published:  Apr 2009

Report ID:  17332

Audience:  Government and Public

This management plan describes the best management practices used to mitigate potential impacts of rototilling and harvesting on aquatic species and habitat, utilities, native vegetation, and lake recreation. These best management practices include the following: Harvesting is used instead of rototilling at sites where increased turbidity may be detrimental to sensitive aquatic species or habitat. Rototiller operators communicate witll local water utility managers to ensure rototilling operations are halted if turbidity levels are high at water intakes. To minimize potential impacts to aquatic species and habitats, Eurasian watermilfoil control program staff follow the BC MoE instream work timing windows. To reduce the risk of harm to kokanee habitat, control efforts are not conducted near kokanee spawning areas identified by BC MoE staff (see Appendix A). The OBWB will work with the BC MoE to develop best management practices that minimize impacts to Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel and other benthic invertebrates. To reduce the risk of harm to native vegetation, areas where plant growth is predominantly native species are avoided. To reduce tile spread of Eurasian watermilfoil through fragmentation, rototilling is undertaken in the winter when plant fragments are less numerous and not viable. To reduce the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil through fragmentation, the harvesters bring cut weeds onto the deck of the machine immediately. Rototiliing is conducted in the late fall and winter to avoid interference with lake recreation and navigation. Harvesting operations typically occur either in early morning hours and/or at target locations that are low use to minimize interference with recreation and navigation. Operators use their extensive experience to determine where larger strips of untreated area are required to avoid water intakes, sewer outfalls, utility cables and geothermal systems.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
  Fish Species - Kokanee - Oncorhynchus nerka
  Region - Okanagan
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Lake
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Management
  Watershed Groups - 310 - Okanagan
  Water Information - Water Management
  Water Information - Water Quality

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