A mild winter and an unusually hot summer have caused problems for Bangs Lake in Wauconda this year, leading village officials to seek some outside help.
A large increase in nonnative, invasive plant species has prompted the village to solicit consultants to develop a multiyear lake management plan that could cost the village up to $10,000.
Ed Lochmayer, co-chairman of the Bangs Lake Advisory Committee, said five firms have filed proposals he will review this week with a committee of three others. Lochmayer did not release the names of the consulting firms.
"We're going to need a plan to curb invasive weeds, manage fish stocking and other things," he said. "We'll look over proposals and go forward from there."
Village Administrator David Geary said this will be the village's first long-term lake management plan.
"If we don't do this, we restrict ourselves to managing the lake's weed problem through purely mechanical means," Geary said.
The weed growth is currently controlled by an aquatic harvester run by Bob Garrod, a member of the Wauconda Public Works department. Garrod's work on the lake has grown, from four to five days because of the recent increase in weeds, particularly the curlyleaf pondweed and Eurasian water milfoil.
Bangs Lake has seen a lot of changes within the past few months as part of village efforts to restore and preserve the lake.
In May, the Bangs Lake Advisory Committee updated fishing regulations to reduce the number, type, and size of fish anglers can take out of Bangs Lake and other bodies of water in the village. Ordinances also are in place to prevent aquatic hitchhikers -- weeds attached to boats brought to the lake -- that could upset the ecology.
"The lake is the crown jewel of Wauconda," Geary said. "We all want to have a partnership in how we treat the lake."
Lochmayer said the committee will review the firms' qualifications this week and study costs in the next few weeks. Once a consultant is chosen and the plan is made, it will be submitted to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.