Chemical herbicide offers hope, and fear, in fight against invasive water plant
By Zachary Matson
Five years ago, few people in the Adirondacks had ever heard of ProcellaCOR.
The chemical herbicide approved by federal regulators in 2017 is now poised to spread widely across the Adirondack Park in the long running battle against one of the park’s most pervasive invasive plants.
Minerva Lake first used the product in 2020 to combat Eurasian watermilfoil, and Lake Luzerne deployed it this summer. In the fall, the Adirondack Park Agency granted approval to the Paradox Lake Association to use itin 2024 or 2025.
The Lake George Park Commission pursued a project to test ProcellaCOR’s in a pair of infested bays – a plan tied up in the courts after a challenge by the Lake George Association. Numerous other lake communities are also interested in what proponents see as an effective new tool against invasive milfoil and may soon be lining up for APA approval.
Eurasian watermilfoil has spread in the Adirondacks for decades, crowding out native plants and clogging waterways. Lake associations and local communities invest heavily in managing the nuisance plants, assigning volunteers or paying divers to pull the plants. Many people have said the herbicide can be used in tandem with other methods as part of managing a lake’s health.
ProcellaCOR is a systemic herbicide that mimics the plant’s growth hormone, killing it. The active ingredient is Florpyrauxifen‐benzyl, and it can be used at much lower dosages than previous herbicides used to treat Eurasian watermilfoil, including ones previously used or considered on Adirondack lakes.
Some residents and advocacy groups have urged caution, arguing not enough is known about how the herbicide will impact Adirondack aquatic life or its long-term consequences, and some detractors draw a bright line against using chemicals of any kind in Adirondack lakes.
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