The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will treat East Okoboji Lake against Eurasian watermilfoil this week. The agency found the invasive species growing throughout the Iowa Great Lakes last month.

The fast-spreading invasive species can cause dense mats of vegetation that disrupt recreation and overcome natural plants. But eradicating it comes with a big price tag: $335,000.

Spirit Lake Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins says they’ve been able to raise the funds quickly with help from local government and water protection groups. He says the community wants to invest in a long-term solution.

“A very unanimous decision was that if there was a chance that, if we could eradicate this plant, that we should take that chance and go very aggressively.”

The DNR will begin applying herbicides to target the species this week and continue until next spring. Its application will not impact native species or recreational use of the lake.

Reporting by IPR’s Kendall Crawford