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Lake bed of McConaughy to be sprayed for noxious weeds

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the Platte Valley Weed Management Area and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are collaborating on an effort to control noxious weeds and encroaching vegetation on the Lake McConaughy lake bed during this time of low water.

Spraying is expected to begin within days of Sept. 30 on the south side of Lake McConaughy from Kelly Bay to Clear Creek and on the north side from Sand Point to Clear Creek, between elevations 3,265 to 3,250 feet. Work is expected to take a couple of days and will cover approximately 2,000 acres.

The work will be completed via helicopter by a contractor that conducts annual spraying along the North Platte and Platte rivers from Lake McConaughy to Columbus. This annual effort targets invasive reed grasses, known as phragmites, and other species that can hinder water movement and decrease water quality.

People should pay attention to the presence of a helicopter spraying and avoid park areas during, and an hour, after the chemical application.

“Avoid areas where the helicopter is spraying for at least an hour after application or until the application is dry,” reiterated Patrick Schnell, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area park superintendent. “It is important to keep an eye on the sky for the helicopter and avoid these areas during application.”

Central previously worked with the Platte Valley Weed Management Area board to spray the North Platte River area for weeds that can affect the river channel flow. Grant funding has allowed this work to extend to the western end of Lake McConaughy during the fall of 2022.

It is hoped work to control the invasive plants can continue in the future when lake levels are low.

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