Pond Weed In East Lake Okoboji Could Bring Problem For Boaters

East Lake Okoboji, IA (ABC9 News) - Parts of East Lake Okoboji look like an underwater forest and in the video above you will see right something called curly leaf pond weed. It mainly grows in the winter. Workers from the Iowa DNR say they improve water quality among many other things.

"Some benefits to the fishery, and cover for small fish, we tend to see some very large classes of pan fish During years we have very large aquatic plant density," said Mike Hawkins, Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist.  Hawkins says this is the largest amount of pond weeds he's seen in years. They cover 600 acres of East Lake Okoboji and despite the benefits, boaters don't want to deal with this invasive plant.

"With navigation through aquatic plants when they're this dense, they wrap up on props and so, you constantly have to shift the prop. You can have some problems with the cooling system," said Hawkins. Tanya Johnson who runs a bait shop right near a dock  says boaters won't stop by.

"Because of all the weeds, the curly pond weed, the dock fisherman, can't fish up here in the north end of east part of the lake, and we can't get any pleasure boaters here because they don't want to bring their boats up, " said Tanya Johnson, Kabele's Trading Post & Lodge.   Now many folks are pressuring the Iowa DNR to take action but trying to get rid of the plant in the entire lake can be costly.  Since curly leaf pond weed only grows in the winter, there is nothing the DNR can do now, but the goal for the fall is to come up with a plan that can control the population that will come with a lower price tag.

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