The week of June 18, 2023, herbicides will be applied to the Wixom and Sanford lakebottoms under the jurisdiction of the Wixom Lake Improvement Board (WLIB) and Sanford Lake Improvement Board (SLIB). The primary goal is large-scale management of the young trees that started growing on the lakebottoms after the May 2020 flood.
The more leaves the trees have, the better the herbicides will control them. For that reason, the public is asked not to mow the Sanford and Wixom bottomlands until after August 1, 2023. This will give the herbicides time to migrate to the tree roots and yield the best control results. The exception is controlling trees in front of private seawalls where herbicide will not be applied.
The herbicides include two active ingredients: triclopyr and imazapyr. Both herbicides work by absorbing through the leaves of woody plants and migrating down to the roots, killing the entire plant. Both herbicides are registered for control of terrestrial and aquatic vegetation in the State of Michigan. In the interest of avoiding unintended damage to woody plants on private property around the lakes, herbicides will not be applied within 80 feet of the original edges of the lakes at normal summer water levels (e.g., areas in front of private seawalls).
About WLIB and SLIB
Past Herbicide Treatment
In 2022, WLIB and Edenville Township engaged vegetation management consultants from Progressive AE and PLM to apply herbicide to test plots within Wixom and Sanford lakes. After evaluating the test results and considering the additional vegetation growing period since the tests, in 2023 WLIB has chosen to carry out a wider use of herbicides in late June 2023 on the Wixom Lake bottomlands. SLIB will also carry out herbicide applications.
What will be done with the dead trees?
Efforts will be made to remove most of the remaining dead trunks prior to refilling the lake. However, certain (deeper) areas, dead trees may remain standing to serve as fish habitat pending discussions with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. However, it is likely that much of the dead, treated, material will not be removed this year. Keep in mind, that management of nuisance woody vegetation is not a one-year effort, it is a multi-year effort with the ultimate goal of the bottomlands being ready for re-filling upon the completion of the dam in a few years.
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