Fragrant water-lily floats on top of Lake Ballinger and Eurasian milfoil is seen beneath the surface. Both are classified as invasive plants that affect the lake’s water quality. (City of Mountlake Terrace)

Fragrant water-lily floats on top of Lake Ballinger and Eurasian milfoil is seen beneath the surface. Both are classified as invasive plants that affect the lake’s water quality. (City of Mountlake Terrace)

Herbicides might be used to kill milfoil in Lake Ballinger

A public workshop about environmental concerns is scheduled for May 29 in Mountlake Terrace.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — It’s a green invasion that is pesky and stifling.

Folks living along the south shore of Lake Ballinger began noticing Eurasian milfoil in the fall of 2015. Two years later, the intruder had spread dramatically, creating dense weedy mats that cover much of the shore.

Now, the city of Mountlake Terrace and other jurisdictions are hoping to bring the Eurasian milfoil and two other non-native noxious weeds under control. The approach, which has involved seeking permits from the state Department of Ecology, could use a combination of herbicides as well as volunteer efforts to manually remove the weeds over several years.

A 2018 study found the Eurasian milfoil covering 16.8 acres of the lake; the fragrant water lily pads, 13.3 acres; and the curly leaf pondweed a little over half an acre. The lake itself covers about 103 acres. Inside the lake is 3-acre Edmount Island.

“With an infestation of that severity, options needed to be developed,” said Laura Reed, stormwater program manager for the city of Mountlake Terrace.

The invading plants are hurting native ones.

“The overly dense aquatic plant growth also greatly impairs habitat for fish and other aquatic species and negatively impacts water quality by increasing nutrient recycling and oxygen demand,” an environmental consulting firm wrote in its study of Lake Ballinger.

In 2018, Tetra Tech identified three non-native, noxious weed species in the lake. The Eurasian milfoil is designated as a Class B noxious weed by Snohomish County. That designation requires it be controlled.

The city was asked by local residents to look into the problem. It has worked closely with the Department of Ecology. Early on, the agency provided a $25,000 grant to map the aquatic plants in the lake and write a management plan.

Lake Ballinger is by no means alone.

“The Eurasian milfoil is an issue in a lot of our lakes,” said Colleen Keltz, a Department of Ecology spokesperson for water quality issues. “It’s all over Western Washington.”

A steering committee was formed to help Lake Ballinger. It included people from Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, a representative from the nearby Nile Shrine Golf Course, and staff from both cities. The panel worked closely with Tetra Tech to come up with options.

The proposal is a combination of herbicides as well as volunteer efforts, such as cutting and raking as well as placing sand-filled burlap bags on the lake bottom.

The recommended herbicides are Fluridone and Florpyrauxifen-benzyl in low-dose applications over parts of the lake over several years. The Florpyrauxifen-benzyl would be used on 9 acres of milfoil in July or August; Fluridone would be used on fragrant water lilies and curly leaf pondweeds in August or September. The annual cost would be around $17,000, which would treat about half of the milfoil and a quarter of the fragrant water lilies and curly leaf pondweed in infested areas each year.

Reed said the herbicides were chosen because they are considered the least risk to humans and wildlife and would cause the fewest restrictions for fishing and swimming.

A survey of Hall Lake, upstream from Lake Ballinger, found variable leaf milfoil, an invasive considered a Class A noxious weed in Washington state. That designation requires it to be eradicated.

A public meeting to answer questions about the Lake Ballinger environmental issues is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 29 at Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center, 23000 Lakeview Drive.

Comments can be made to or 425-744-6226.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446;

Talk to us

More in Local News

A portion of the Redistricting Commission-approved legislative map showing the 12th District, which would span the Cascade Range. (Washington State Redistricting Commission) 20211124
Proposed political map links cities from Monroe to Wenatchee

Highway 2 would unite communities on both sides of the Cascades in one legislative district. Here’s what else could change.

Money seized during an investigation into a Snohomish County fentanyl ring. (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Snohomish County men get federal prison for major fentanyl ring

They got drugs from China and ran an operation that could press 2.5 million pills. They must serve mandatory minimum sentences.

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

Top (L-R): Brian Holtzclaw, Eric Cooke, Judy Williams, Tim Schmitt. Bottom (L-R): Patrick Leonetti, Donna Cross, Dani Gaumond, Rob Johnson.
Recounts in Mill Creek, Stanwood as 2021 election is certified

Another tally is required to settle races for seats on city councils, as well as the Alderwood water district.

The Washington State House of Representatives convenes for floor session, Feb. 21, 2019.
Granite Falls representative joins lawsuit over House vax rule

Rep. Robert Sutherland objects to the COVID-19 vaccine because he had a severe reaction to a flu shot.

Stillaguamish tribal members hold flags during a powwow. (Contributed)
Arlington formally recognizes homeland of Stillaguamish people

A newly adopted acknowledgement is intended to show respect to native ancestors and their descendants.

Most Read