Good-bye to the lily pads!

Neighbors of Horseshoe Pond have taken a new approach to reducing the number of lily pads in the water. They are raising money for herbicide treatments that are environmentally safe. (Jeannette Ross photo)

Neighbors of Horseshoe Pond have taken a new approach to reducing the number of lily pads in the water. They are raising money for herbicide treatments that are environmentally safe. (Jeannette Ross photo)

With over $4,000 raised so far, the Friends of Horseshoe Pond will begin the first round of lily pad removal on May 12 with the help of the Pond & Lake Connection, a Newtown-based company.

Jeff Stahl, the owner of Pond & Lake, said Tuesday he does not foresee any major problems with the project, as long as the area is not hit with heavy rains during that time.

“The only real thing that would hold the project up is if we had a major rain event and I was unable to hold the water for the required 24-hour time period. I don’t foresee that happening,” he said.

“It’s a pretty straightforward project. I don’t foresee any changes, because we are able to control the water there pretty easily. We’ll have at least six or eight inches to work with.”

Mr. Stahl previously explained the process to The Bulletin, saying the herbicidal chemicals he uses to treat lily pad problems are systemic — which means they travel from the top of the pads to their roots.

“We put it directly onto the plant, and the plant pulls it down into the root system,” he said. “This will help reduce tuber density in the pond.”

Current plans will reduce the lily pad coverage in Horseshoe Pond from 95% to a more normal 30%, Mr. Stahl said.

Environmentally, herbicidal reduction is safer than other possibilities, the contractor said earlier this year. The chemicals he uses are labeled for use in drinking water and become inert 20 minutes after making contact with water.

“[This herbicide] is labeled for wetlands use. It’s used for aquatics, and it’s labeled for watersheds and reservoirs as well,” he said. “We can be very selective in the areas we choose to address. We’re not putting chemicals in the whole body of water and seeing what it does.”

Dredging, by contrast, could adversely affect amphibian and fish populations, Mr. Stahl said.

For now, his company plans to “aggressively” attack the Horseshoe Pond problem with three treatments this summer. That will be followed up by two treatments in 2015, and one in 2016.

After three years, biannual treatments will work together with hand removal to keep the pond clear.

To donate for the Horseshoe Pond cleanup, send a check with Horseshoe Pond in the memo section to Conservation Commission, Town Hall Annex, 238 Danbury Road, Wilton.

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