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Persistence of 2,4-D and its Effects on Benthic Macroinvertebrates Following Spring Treatment of Eurasian Watermilfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum L. in Two Lakes in Southeastern Wisconsin, USA

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The purpose of this study was to determine the persistence of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) applied to two lakes (one mesotrophic and one eutrophic) for the control of Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM), and to determine the impacts of 2,4-D on benthic macroinvertebrates in one of the lakes. One lake was treated with a liquid formulation, and the other with a slow release granular formulation of 2,4-D. Concentrations of 2,4-D in the water column were highest 1 and 2 days post-treatment and declined to below detection limits by 7 and 10 days post-treatment. We observed negative correlations between days post-treatment and taxa richness, and between days post-treatment and abundance of three of 12 taxonomic groups of macroinvertebrates. Lake managers need to balance control of EWM with possible impacts of 2,4-D to nontarget organisms.

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Funding was provided by the Undergraduate Research Program at UW-Whitewater. We thank Gail Swain, Charlie Handel, Stu Alger, Heidi Bunk, Brooke Robinson, Steve Geis, Brian Suffran, Roy Carlson, Peter Schoen, Angie Jacob, Dr. Ellen Davis, and two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to E. A. Harrahy.

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Harrahy, E.A., Edwards, D.S. & Hedman, C.J. Persistence of 2,4-D and its Effects on Benthic Macroinvertebrates Following Spring Treatment of Eurasian Watermilfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum L. in Two Lakes in Southeastern Wisconsin, USA. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92, 404–409 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-014-1206-9

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  • 2,4-D
  • Persistence
  • Lake
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates