ELLENSBURG – Fishing won’t be affected, but swimmers will want to avoid two popular lakes in Kittitas County when they are treated with herbicide to control aquatic weeds June 30-July 2.
The North and South Fio Rito lakes, totaling about 54 acres about three miles east of Ellensburg, will be treated with aquatically-approved 2-4-D herbicide to control submerged Eurasian milfoil.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Noxious Weed Coordinator David Heimer said the herbicide application permit includes a 24-hour “no swimming advisory” for the 2-4-D application.
“This herbicide degrades rapidly, but treated water should not be used for irrigation or potable uses until concentrations diminish,” Heimer said. “We’ll be sampling the water regularly after application to determine concentration.”
No other restrictions apply, Heimer noted, so fishing in the lakes will not be affected.
The work to improve the quality of the lakes is a cooperative project of WDFW, the Kittitas Noxious Weed Control Board, Washington departments of Agriculture and Ecology, and the Kittitas Field and Stream Club.
As part of that project, yellow flag iris growing along the shoreline at the Fio Rito lakes and Mattoon Lake, north of I-90 in Ellensburg, will also be treated during the same time period. No restrictions or advisories are needed for the yellow flag iris control work, which involves application of with imazapyr herbicide, Heimer said.
Yellow flag iris and Eurasian milfoil are both invasive, non-native plants that will choke out native habitat for fish and wildlife if allowed to spread, he said.
WDFW southcentral region lands agent Leah Hendrix of Yakima suggests swimmers use other local lakes until the Fio Rito lakes are cleared for all use July 3. She recommends:
- Woodhouse Ponds, off Woodhouse Loop Road, two miles south of Ellensburg off Canyon Road.
- Lavender Lake, off Exit 74, north side, 10 miles west of Cle Elum
- Helen McCabe Pond, off Canyon Road, three miles south of Ellensburg, just south of the Thrall Road/Canyon Road intersection.