Biologists plan saltwater shock treatment to knock weeds back

Shoreline vegetation impacting fishing access at Twin Lakes

Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A series of saltwater shock treatments at Twin Lakes should reduce the amount of shoreline weeds crowding out recreational fishermen, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Dan Teske said.

Two culvert gates will be opened at the end of this week or the beginning of next week to allow fresh water to drain into the channel and salt water to come in on the high tide.

The salt water is expected to inhibit weed growth.

"It won't kill them all off but should knock them back," Teske said.

The shoreline of the two man-made lakes is choked with water-milfoil, an aquatic indigenous plant that usually does not proliferate as it has in Twin Lakes.

"During our Family Fishing Day last year we had hundreds of people out there trying to fish that couldn't," Teske said.

The event takes place in June after the department stocks the lakes with fish from the nearby salmon hatchery.

Reducing the amount of milfoil also will improve boating and swimming access, Teske said.

The presence of milfoil decreased for several years after the lakes were drained for maintenance in 2000. Higher salinity levels, as well as exposure to air and freezing temperatures, are thought to have helped kill some of the weeds.

The lakes will drain and refill with the neap tides for about one week. An 18-foot tide at the end of the month will completely fill the basins up, at which time the gates will be closed, Teske said.

Fish in the northern lake will be allowed to migrate to the ocean but the department will try to keep some fish in the south basin, which will not fully drain.

The department stocks the lakes every June but does not know how many of the small king salmon survive the winters.

Fish and Game is working with city parks and the state transportation department on the project.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis

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