With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife has begun annual treatment of select downstate public ponds for nuisance aquatic weeds.

These nuisance weeds can overtake ponds and crowd out beneficial plant species and prevent fishing and boating access. Blairs Pond and Tub Mill Pond near Milford are being treated this year. Signs are posted at the boat ramp area of each pond on the day of treatment.

Hydrilla, a nonnative, invasive plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade, is the primary target of the treatments through application of Sonar, an EPA-registered and approved aquatic herbicide containing fluridone. Sonar has been used in Delaware since the 1980s and has proven environmentally compatible and effective for controlling hydrilla. Sonar does not pose any threat to wildlife, including fish, nor are there any restrictions on fishing or fish consumption as a result of these treatments.

The only special precaution is a 30-day restriction on water use from the ponds from the date of treatment. Residents and farmers alongside the ponds and those directly downstream should not use pond water to irrigate their gardens, yards or agricultural lands for 30 days after treatment to avoid possible damage to their plantings.

An annual permit from DNREC’s Division of Water is required to withdraw water from Delaware’s freshwater ponds, with holders of these permits receiving advanced notice of the upcoming pond treatments. To obtain an irrigation permit from the Division of Water, call 739-9945.

State-managed ponds with public angler access are treated because the treatments are funded through the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program and state fishing license funds. While the Division of Fish & Wildlife does not treat private ponds, it can provide a list of businesses licensed in Delaware to treat nuisance aquatic weeds.

To prevent the spread of invasive aquatic vegetation to other ponds and waterways, anglers and boaters are encouraged to remove hydrilla and other aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, and gear before leaving the boat ramp area.

For more, call 739-9914.