Goodwin & Shoecraft Invasive Milfoil Control

New! 

​Your Invited to a Milfoil Control Community Meeting 


Join your neighbors to learn more about:

  • Milfoil - what is it and how to identify it
  • Proposed 2020-2025 aquatic plant charge 
Monday, May 13th
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Lake Goodwin Community Club
17323 42nd Ave NW, Stanwood

Click to see invitation

Milfoil Community Meeting Flyer

What is milfoil? 


Eurasian watermilfoil (milfoil) is an aggressive, non-native aquatic plant. It grows rapidly and crowds out native plants, forms dense mats and produces long tendrils that entangle fishing lines, boat motors and swimmers. Milfoil spreads easily to other lakes from small fragments left on a boat motor, boat trailer or fishing equipment. It is considered a Class B designated noxious weed in Snohomish County. See our aquatic plant page to learn more about milfoil and how to tell it from other aquatic plants. 

How did milfoil reach the lake?


Eurasian watermilfoil likely invaded Lake Goodwin in the early 1990s from a plant fragment brought in by a boat or other recreational equipment. The largest initial infestations were close to the boat launch. Milfoil then likely spread to Lake Shoecraft through the canal that connects the two lakes. The plant grew rapidly in the north and south ends of Lake Shoecraft by the mid-1990s. 

What is being done about milfoil?


Starting in the mid-1990's Snohomish County and the Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft communities have work together each year to control Eurasian watermilfoil. The County manages the control work with direction from volunteer lake residents from Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft who serve on the 7 Lakes Milfoil Advisory Committee. The milfoil control strategy includes the following efforts:

1) prevention - removing plants before launching and leaving the lake
2) diver hand-pulling - annual pulling of small patches and scattered milfoil plants
3) herbicide treatments - only when areas are too large or dense for hand-pulling

Milfoil Control Efforts

Lake Shoecraft containment curtains

In 2000, control began at Lake Shoecraft with an herbicide treatment where  2,100 feet of curtains were used to contain the herbicide in the infested areas. The treatment eradicated milfoil for 8 years.

Burlap barriers for milfoil control
Lake Goodwin milfoil control work began in 1997 when 226 burlap sheets were installed to cover covered two acres of milfoil. While effective, this approach proved too labor intensive to be used on a large scale. 
milfoil_Work
Since 1997, divers annually survey milfoil in Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft. They pull the milfoil and carefully bag plans as each small fragment can start a new plant. This strategy combined with occasional herbicide treatments has kept milfoil to low levels in most years. 

How much does this cost and who pays for it?


This control work is funded through Snohomish County Surface Water Management utility charges and local residents. Local residents pay an aquatic plant management charge, established in 2005 by Snohomish County Council (SC25.20.050). It was established per the request of residents to replace an administratively costly Lake Management District. The charge was renewed in 2010 and again in 2015. It is set to expire in December, 2019.

The annual cost of milfoil control has ranged from $45,000 to $65,000 from 2016-2019 depending on the number of days with diver hand-pulling and if herbicide treatments are used. The charges paid by residents cover around $31,500 of the total cost and the remainder has been paid for by Snohomish County surface water management utility charges. 

Are milfoil control efforts working?


Over the last two decades, milfoil control efforts have largely succeeded as milfoil has been maintained at low levels in most years. You can see milfoil locations over the years in the milfoil location maps for Lake Goodwin and Lake Shoecraft.
However, in recent years it has been increasingly difficult to meet milfoil control plan goals because of:

  • Longer milfoil growing seasons due to warmer, earlier springs
  • Increased resistance to herbicides making treatments less effective
  • Rising cost of diver hand-pulling from changes in diving regulations resulting in fewer days of work each year

What is the milfoil control planned for 2019?


This year will be a busy year for milfoil control work on the two lakes. First, there is a potential herbicide treatment planned to treat up to 12 acres on Lake Shoecraft and 18 acres on Lake Goodwin. The treatment will be using a new herbicide, ProcellaCOR . It is has been shown to be highly effective and is classified as Reduced Risk by the United States Environmental Protection Agency compared to past herbicides. The treatment will be contingent upon the Department of Ecology finalizing ProcellaCOR's addition to the State's Aquatic Plant and Algae Management Permit. If the treatment occurs, there will be no diver hand-pulling as all of the annual budget will go towards the herbicide treatment. 

In 2019 the aquatic plant fee paid by Goodwin and Shoecraft residents is also set to expire in December. The 7 lakes milfoil advisory committee has developed a proposal to increase the fee over the next five years in order to meet the increasing challenges of milfoil control. Specifically, the proposed charges will:

  • Establish a reserve fund with a higher charge in 2020 which will allow for more rapid responses to large infestations like Lake Shoecraft experienced in 2018.
  • Allow for more days of diver hand-pulling (which have been reduced because of higher diving costs)
  • Include small annual increases that keep pace with inflation to ensure continued high level of control efforts. 
A community meeting is being held on May 13th from 6:30 - 8:00 at the Lake Goodwin Community Club at which area residents can discuss and provide feedback on the proposal. 
A History of Control Efforts

Here are some additional milestones in addition to annual control efforts. 

  • 1996 - The County applied for and was awarded an early infestation grant through the Department of Ecology for the development of an Integrated Aquatic Plant Management Plant.
  • 1996 - The 7 Lakes Milfoil Advisory Committee was formed with volunteers from several lakes. Together with the County, they began efforts to control milfoil and develop the plan. 
  • 1997 - Lake Goodwin control efforts began with installation of two acres of burlap bottom barriers. Divers spent two weeks placing the 226 sheets anchored with sandbags. While effective, the strategy proved to be too labor intensive for relatively small areas of control.  
  • 1997 - Diver hand-pulling at Lake Goodwin also begins this year. This strategy of using divers to remove scattered plants or small milfoil patches successfully maintains milfoil to acceptable levels for almost a decade. 
  • 1999 - The Seven Lakes Integrated Aquatic Management Plan was completed. The plan still serves as a blueprint for milfoil prevention and control efforts on the two lakes.
  • 2000 - Lake Goodwin and Shoecraft Lake Management District was established as a mechanism for area residents to help fund milfoil control efforts as grant funding had been exhausted. 
  • 2000 - Lake Shoecraft control efforts began with a 25.5-acre Fluridone herbicide treatment. The herbicide was concentrated in the areas of infestation by two curtains totaling 2,100 feet.  This unique strategy successfully eradicated the plant until a 2008 re-introduction.
  • 2005 - The Lake Management District proved to be administratively costly to set up and administer. Per the request of lake residents, Snohomish County Council replaced it with an aquatic plant control fee (SC25.20.050) which was renewed again in 2010 and 2015.
  • 2006 - A 7-acre patch of milfoil was discovered in a shallow offshore area in Lake Goodwin and was treated with the herbicide, Renovate. Subsequent annual hand-pulling seems to have eliminated milfoil in this area, though it remains susceptible to infestation.
  • 2008 - A few milfoil plants were discovered in Lake Shoecraft near the inlet from Lake Goodwin and annual hand-pulling by divers begins in the lake. 
  • 2013A 25-acre herbicide treatment was conducted on the two lakes (12 at Shoecraft; 13 at Goodwin) as many milfoil patches were too dense for diver hand-pulling to be effective. 
  • 2016 -  A 7.9 acre patch of milfoil on the north end of Lake Shoecraft was treated with the herbicide, Renovate Max G after the area again became too dense for hand-pulling. The treatment only lasted a few years and by 2018 several areas of the lake had developed dense milfoil patches.