Windsor Lake to be closed to treat invasive pondweed


NORTH ADAMS — The city's years-long battle with invasive plants at Windsor Lake continues this week with further chemical treatments.

The entire lake will be closed for use this Thursday and Friday while several portions of the water are treated with herbicide on Thursday in an effort to combat curly-leaf pondweed, a plant that is not native to the habitat.

This week's treatment is part of a five-year Windsor Lake management plan crafted by city officials. It's being paid for with funding from the $750,000 in emergency relief funding granted to the city by the state Legislature in the wake of the 2014 closure of North Adams Regional Hospital. The city has contracted out the entire five-year plan for $44,000.

The project began in 2014 with the identification of invasive species at the lake. The treatment process began in 2015, and is already making a visible difference in the lake. Last year, the city kicked off treatment by impeding what had been a rapid, unchecked growth of phragmites, a tall reed found around the edges of the lake.

"Over half is dead so we'll treat again and then treat again, and every time it should be knocking that base," said City Administrative Officer Michael Canales, who has overseen the project.

Though common in North America, the curly-leaf pondweed is native to Africa, Australia and Eurasia, according to Canales.

The densest concentrations of pondweed in Windsor Lake are in the northwest area, though there is also less severe growth to the east of the public beach area. The weed has also crept around the boat launch area.

"It has approximately doubled since last year so it's something that we want to get on top of," Canales said.

The weed, which reappears in the spring and dies off in June and July, can grow in water up to 15 feet deep. It's treated with the herbicide in the summer before its seeds drop, further spreading the weed.

Though the lake will be closed to swimmers and boaters for a couple of days, the land area around the lake will remain open on Thursday and Friday for other recreational uses. It is expected that the lake itself will be reopened for water recreation on Saturday.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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