Village Board moves forward with cattail remediation on lakebed

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy Village Board discussed the process for removing the cattails in the former East Troy Lake area at the July 1 meeting and approved a proposal for vegetative assessment as the first step toward remediation.

The cattails, which flourished when the lake was drawn down a few years back for some dam repairs and studies, were briefly knocked down when the lake was refilled at the end of 2016. However, when the dam was damaged in the July 2017 flooding the lake was once emptied and has remained so since.

The Village Board voted to permanently remove the dam in August 2018 and is in the process of obtaining the necessary DNR permits to take out the dam next year.

Village Engineer Tim Lynch, of Lynch and Associates, and Andy Nelson, of Natural Resource Innovations, updated the board on what the next steps were in the cattail remediation at Monday night’s meeting.

Nelson told the board the first step was a vegetative assessment, which Lynch and Nelson brought to the board for approval.

Nelson said the removal of the cattails would require “active management” and said late summer was the optimal time to start remediation. He said chemical treatment, sprayed from a helicopter, was the preferred method.

Some of the homeowners on the former East Troy Lake have expressed concerns about using chemicals to remove the cattails, but the other option – controlled burns – also come with risks.

Property owner Steve Kuhl said he understood the necessity of spraying but wanted to make sure the homeowners would get proper and timely notification of when it would be done and if the contractor doing the job had adequate insurance in case of damage to his plants and trees.

Nelson said the spraying would be contracted out to a company that would be properly insured and the area residents would be given a timeline of the project, subject to weather delays if needed.

“In my experience, aerial herbicide sprayers tend to be very cautious because of the nature of what they do. And, yes, they have excellent insurance coverage,” Nelson said.

Nelson added that he has been involved in projects such as this for years.

“I did a bunch in the Horicon Marsh,” Nelson said. “I was the property manager there and line the helicopters are able to create are very precise. The drift is low and they have the nozzles calibrated precisely.”

Nelson said the homeowners in the area would receive a list of “recommendations” for the day of spraying like covering plants close to the cattail line and keeping windows closed.

Trustee Matt Johnson said based on the fact that it was already July, the remediation was probably not going to happen this summer because there needed to be discussions with the community and the homeowners on the former lake so everyone was informed.

Department of Public Works Director Jason Equitz reminded the board that the timeline for the dam removal included cattail remediation for next year when the dam was taken out.

The board approved the proposal for vegetative assessment from Natural Resource Innovations to begin as soon as possible.

In related dam news, during citizen participation, Ben Schweder asked the Village Board if it would be possible to get a monthly accounting of the costs of the dam removal. Schweder cited the projected $325,000 removal cost for the dam and asked, “Are we really going to be at that number?”

The total estimated cost of removing the dam and restoring the land around the Honey Creek and creating the planned walking path and park is about $750,000.

Because the item was not on the agenda, the board couldn’t discuss it, but Village Board President Scott Seager suggested Schweder contact Village Hall to see what could be done and to individually email the board members, if he liked.

“We can’t respond as a group because that would be a quorum, but we can respond individually,” Seager said.


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