Funding Depleted as Weeds Spread

     Lake County’s Clear Lake has a big problem, and local officials aren't sure if they’ll have the funds they need to control it. Last year 65 areas of hydrilla were treated by the state at a cost of $1.1 million, while Lake County treated 63 areas of Eurasian milfoil, raising the county’s total to $217,948.45. Switching exclusively to chemical control after years of using herbicide in tandem with mechanical harvesters, officials hope to stop the plants’ aggressive spread.

     "There is a big problem with removing the weeds mechanically,” said Carolyn Ruttan, the county’s invasive species program coordinator.“Cutting any plant can cause it to regrow and, although mechanical weed removal is a method that doesn't use chemicals, you have to do it many, many times in the course of the growing year."