ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Crews are scheduled to begin work Friday to remove an invasive plant species that has moved in to the floatplane area of Anchorage's Lake Hood.
State environmental officials gave emergency authorization and other speedy permitting and funding to deal with elodea, a leafy, long-stemmed plant, known to crowd out native species of freshwater flora, The Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1JgFRNX).
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation invoked its emergency authority last week to grant a special herbicide permit.
Elodea was found in Lake Hood last month causing officials to worry that departing aircraft could bring the weed to new sites. The Lake Hood Seaplane Base houses about 500 aircraft.
"We wanted to make sure we dealt with that as fast as we possibly could," said Alaska Department of Natural Resources invasive weeds and agricultural pest coordinator Heather Stewart.
Stewart said the invasive plant was found to be growing in just three areas and was far outnumbered by native plants.
"It's actually not that widespread," she said. "That's a good thing because we really are getting it early in the infestation."
The Department of Natural Resources is going to use hose systems aboard boats to spray an herbicide called diquat in specific areas.
A three-year process will follow to apply fluridone in liquid and then pellet form.
Three other Alaska lakes are set to be treated for elodea next month.
Stewart says high temperatures and a low snowpack have created conditions that have aquatic plants growing faster than they would in normal years.
Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com