TAPPAN LAKE – The aggressive growth of large plants in the water at the east end of Tappan Lake has led the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) to begin control measures last week.
A licensed professional applicator contracted by the MWCD is spraying and killing many of the plants, which are the American Lotus plant that have been limiting boat traffic in extreme eastern end of the lake and two nearby bays, according to Mark Swiger, MWCD’s conservation administrator. The MWCD has received the approval of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife and obtained a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to conduct the spraying.
The intent of this week’s spraying is to stop the growth and reduce the outside diameter of the various masses of the plants in the lake, Swiger said. The lanes created by the spraying also will benefit the fish and anglers, he added.
The American Lotus has been found in Tappan Lake for many years. Aerial photographs taken about 10 years ago show that the plant was becoming established in the main body of the lake. Normal change in seasons and other weather conditions do not serve as deterrents, and there are no natural predators to the plants, Swiger said.
Dense populations of the American Lotus suppress the growth of the native plants in the reservoir by shading out the lower-growing plants. A diverse group of aquatic plants is more beneficial to a healthy lake than a single dominant species. It normally takes a couple of weeks for the spraying to have a noticeable effect, Swiger said.
The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Basin, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the reservoirs (including Atwood Lake) and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving more than 7 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government.