Invasive aquatic plants represent a serious problem for Washington state, crowding out native vegetation, threatening habitat for salmon and other wildlife. Unfortunately, many aquatic weed infestations are dealt with through the use of aquatic herbicides — chemicals that are applied directly to lakes and can seriously harm the ecosystem, endangered species, and threaten human health.
Although aquatic herbicides are approved for use, many of them pose potential risks to human health and the environment. More significantly, direct application into the water means that these chemicals are highly likely to drift away from the original treatment site, attacking a much larger area of the lake or pond and possibly affecting swimmers or wildlife in areas which may not have posted pesticide warnings. Additionally, it is not yet known just how long some of these chemicals may persist in the environment, or what the long-term effects of exposure may be. Learn more about the problems associated with aquatic herbicides here.
Fortunately, there are non-chemical methods available for management of invasive aquatic vegetation. Learn more about some available non-toxic methods for managing aquatic plants here.
If you are dealing with aquatic weeds or neighbors that want to use herbicides in your lake, you can find out more about what you can do on our Get Involved page.
Unfortunately, in Washington state we have a very poor statewide permit that allows almost anyone to be approved to use aquatic herbicides in their lake for up to five years without even considering the use of widely available non-toxic options. For more information on the problems with the state permit see our Problems page and to learn why Lake Washington needs it’s own permit, read more here
Clean water depends on all of us.