Lake Wawasee Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan

Executive Summary

The following report outlines a long-term vegetation management strategy for Lake Wawasee. Aquatic Weed Control was contracted by the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation to conduct aquatic vegetation surveys and propose a lake management plan based on the results of the surveys. Funding for this plan was provided by the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program.

In 2005, Aquatic Weed Control conducted two aquatic vegetation surveys to characterize the plant community of Lake Wawasee. An early season survey was conducted on May 26, 2005, and a late season survey was conducted on August 10, 2005. Each survey followed protocol established by the IDNR, and consisted of a Tier I reconnaissance survey and a Tier II qualitative survey. The Tier I survey is designed to give an overview of the plant structure in the lake, while the Tier II survey describes individual species distributions and abundances in more detail.

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Based on the results of these surveys, a management plan was constructed to help reach the three major management goals established by the IDNR for all public lakes in Indiana, including those applying for LARE funding. These three goals are listed below.

1. Develop or maintain a stable, diverse aquatic plant community that supports a good balance of predator and prey fish and wildlife species, good water quality and is resistant to minor habitat disturbances and invasive species.

2. Direct efforts to preventing and/or controlling the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species.

3. Provide reasonable public recreational access while minimizing the negative impacts on plant and wildlife resources.

The 2005 vegetation surveys of Lake Wawasee found a diverse plant community. The majority of these plants are native species that are beneficial to Lake Wawasee’s ecosystem. These species should remain in the lake and should be protected to maintain biodiversity. Two invasive plant species, Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) were also present in the 2005 surveys. Eurasian watermilfoil is of special concern, as it was found throughout the entire lake. Although this plant is widely distributed, its overall dominance in the lake is fairly low. There are some areas where Eurasian watermilfoil dominance is particularly heavy, and these areas will be surveyed in the years to come. If Eurasian watermilfoil continues to increase in these areas, they should be chemically treated to reduce the milfoil population. If the Eurasian watermilfoil dominance does not increase in these areas, no chemical treatment may be necessary.

Lake Wawasee should be surveyed again in each of the next two years. These surveys will be used to evaluate any changes in the Eurasian watermilfoil population and they will also help to monitor the overall health of the native plant community of Lake Wawasee. Below is a management schedule including the approximate costs of surveys and possible treatments.

2006
Early season aquatic vegetation survey
Late Season vegetation survey and plan update costs will
depend upon new IDNR requirements Approximately $13,500
Any herbicide applications will depend on the results of the surveys.

2007
Early season aquatic vegetation survey
Late Season vegetation survey and plan update Approximately $13,500
Any herbicide applications will depend on the results of the surveys.

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