Aquatic Plant Management Planning Project

In 2011, the Kirby Lake Management District requested a permit to harvest a non-native invasive shoreland plant called reed canary grass from the shallow water adjacent to much of the shoreline

This plant had overtaken much of the lake bed exposed during low water. When the lake level came back up, much of this plant material died and remained in the shallow water causing navigation issues and adding a tremendous amount of decaying plant material to the lake. The purpose for harvesting the dead and submerged reed canary grass was to help protect the lake from possible negative changes to water quality. The WDNR awarded the permit, under the condition that the Kirby Lake Management District pursue the development of an official Aquatic Plant Management Plan to guide aquatic plant management over five years beginning in 2013. This project is the result of that condition.

Kirby Lake has exceptional aquatic plant diversity and distribution, and at the present time, no non-native, invasive aquatic plant species other than reed canary grass. The density of native aquatic plant growth; however, does create nuisance level conditions preventing lake access and causing use issues for many property owners and lake users. As such, management of native aquatic plants to provide open water access and improved navigation is necessary.

The overall goal of aquatic plant management in the Kirby Lake is to protect this outstanding resource from degradation by protecting what is already there, maximizing prevention efforts for new invasions like curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil through watercraft inspection and lake monitoring efforts, and limited management to improve lake use and access issues.

Individual goals associated with the Kirby Lake Aquatic Plant Management Plan include:

  1. Preservation, Protection, and Restoration. Protect and restore the native plant species community in and around the lake to decrease susceptibility to the introduction of new aquatic invasive species
  2. Prevention. Prevent the introduction and establishment of new aquatic invasive species through early detection and rapid response.
  3. Management. Maintain common navigation channels and individual riparian access lanes in areas of nuisance native plant and reed canary grass growth via mechanical and manual control.
  4. Education and Awareness. Continue public outreach and education programs on aquatic invasive species.
  5. Research and Monitoring. Develop a better understanding of the lake and the factors affecting lake water quality through continued and expanded monitoring efforts.
  6. Adaptive Management. Follow an adaptive management approach that measures and analyzes the effectiveness of control activities and modify the management plan as necessary to meet goals and objectives

Each of these goals has several objectives and recommendations to follow through with over the course of the five year plan.


SEH Project Manager
Bruce Olson