A bright blue sky shines over Twin Lakes.

A bright blue sky shines over Twin Lakes, which is slowly draining. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Juneau’s Twin Lakes are slowly receding and will remain dry through April to control the invasive weed milfoil.

CBJ Parks and Landscape Superintendent George Schaaf says the gates under Egan Drive were opened about 4:30 Tuesday morning.

 “We do it at negative tide so there is plenty of pressure for the water to get out of the lakes,” Schaaf says, “and then when they get refilled we  do it when we’re having really big tides so that we can get the lakes as full as possible.”

Draining the lakes and filling them with salt water reduces milfoil growth without using herbicides.

State Fish and Game Biologist Brian Glynn says Northern Water Milfoil is common in Alaska.  He says Twin Lakes conditions are ripe for a health supply of organic matter.

“You know you get warm water conditions there (and) aquatic plant growth. These species in particular do very well in those conditions.  Then you get a bit of a positive feedback loop in that as they decompose in the fall, they provide fertilizer for subsequent year’s growth,” Glynn says.

The ramp sits on the sidewalk, blocking access to the floating dock.

The ramp sits on the sidewalk, blocking access to the floating dock for the duration of the project. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO).

Fish and Game has been stocking Twin Lakes with king salmon for more than 20 years, Glynn says, “and as the weed problem developed, that started cutting into that sport fishing opportunity, especially along the shoreline where anglers want to fish.  It got to the point where you were guaranteed reeling in weeds as opposed to maybe catching one of the hatchery king salmon.”

Glynn says once refilled the popular Twin Lakes will be restocked with about 10,000 little salmon, just in time for Family Fishing Day.

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