Department of Ecology News Release - November 5, 2015

Permit to control plants, algae in lakes to be updated
Public can comment on the proposed updates through Dec. 18

Variable-leaf milfoil in Thurston County’s Blue Lake. (Jenifer Parsons photo)

OLYMPIA – Keeping Washington’s lakes clear and safe for swimming, boating and fishing can sometimes require carefully monitored efforts to control aquatic plants and algae.

Licensed applicators, local governments, homeowner associations and lakefront homeowners may apply for an Aquatic Plant and Algae General Permit to control plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil. Milfoil can form large mats that can make swimming and boating dangerous and also affect lake health.

The permit also allows for the use of algicides and phosphorous-inactivation products to reduce toxic algae blooms in lakes. Toxic algae blooms can make people sick, especially small children and the elderly. Pets can die after drinking water with a toxic bloom and should not swim in lakes with toxic algae.

The permit also helps local governments and organizations maintain infrastructure by allowing treatment of excess weeds on roadsides, along ditch banks, and in flood-control structures.

The Washington Department of Ecology invites comments on minor changes it is proposing to make to this permit. Changes proposed include requiring less paperwork and a streamlined environmental review process.

Ecology will accept comments on the changes until 5 p.m. Dec. 18. It will hold an in-person and online webinar workshop/public hearing at 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at Ecology’s Lacey offices, located at 300 Desmond Dr., Lacey.

Visit Ecology’s website to review the proposed permit changes, to sign up for the webinar, and to find out how to provide comments.


Sandy Howard, communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA