Lake Sutherland Eurasian Watermilfoil Control

Program History

In the summer of 2000, the Department of Ecology reported the discovery of an early infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake Sutherland, which is located about ten miles west of Port Angeles. Eurasian watermilfoil forms dense surface mats that can shade out native vegetation, alter water quality by increasing the temperature and decreasing the oxygen, and interfere with boating and swimming. These surface mats offer little or no food or habitat for wildlife, and they create stagnant water that encourages mosquitoes to breed. Control of Eurasian watermilfoil costs the state of Washington over $1 million per year.

The Lake Sutherland infestation was limited, so the Noxious Weed Control Board obtained a grant from the Department of Ecology. They contacted all the lake owners and began investigating what could be done.

Many lake residents and landowners attended a meeting held in April 2001. The pros and cons of various control options were discussed and most residents expressed a strong interest in exploring and pursuing non-chemical weed control methods as much as possible. Interested landowners formed a steering committee to help shape and implement a lake program.

With the help of the county's Noxious Weed Control Coordinator and cooperation from the local dive shop, the Steering Committee began to build a volunteer-based program to survey and manually remove milfoil from the lake. Crews learned to lay barriers to smother the larger, dense infestations in multiple locations around the lake and followed up with hand-pulling for smaller patches or individual plants.

By 2005, the program had exhausted funding from the Department of Ecology. That year landowners voted to approve the formation of the Lake Sutherland Management District (LMD Number 2) which included an assessment of $50/yr/parcel for 5 years. This money is used strictly to fund a Lake Sutherland milfoil control program. After voters approved the LMD, the county commissioners formally appointed seven landowners and three alternates to the Lake Sutherland Management District Steering Committee. Committee members provide a vital link to the lake community while actively participating in the implementation of the milfoil control program.

Lake Management Districts can be created for ten years without undergoing the entire authorization process which includes several public notifications, hearings, and a vote of affected landowners. The Lake Sutherland Management District was originally authorized for five years, but had the option of operating for ten years. In 2009, a majority of lake residents signed a petition asking the Board of County Commissioners to extend LMD Number 2 for five more years without going to another full vote. Landowners were satisfied with the efficiency and efficacy of the milfoil control program and wished to avoid the costs associated with conducting another election. After conducting a public hearing and considering both written and verbal testimony, the Commissioners extended LMD Number 2 for another five years. It is now scheduled to sunset at the end of 2014 unless reauthorized by lake owners.

Since September 2000, volunteers have donated the use of their equipment and thousands of hours of their time. They've destroyed thousands of milfoil plants, all at a fraction of the cost of a professional crew. Volunteers often find new plants that are just getting a foothold in an area, stopping milfoil before it can spread very far. Although our control program has been very successful, it will take years to completely eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil from Lake Sutherland. Even then it can always be reintroduced; one lake resident who lives near the boat launch found milfoil on an out-of-county boat that was just being launched! High public awareness and a regular monitoring program will be essential to protect this beautiful lake.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • We still need help! We have weekly focus dives and we are especially looking for volunteers who can spend a few hours on the lake during the week from June through November. If you are a diver or know a diver who might be interested in volunteering, please let us know. We will teach you how to identify Eurasian watermilfoil and how to properly remove it. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your diving skills! We also need people to help as boat tenders and skimmers. The program provides air tank refills for divers and has a boat that needs a driver.
  • We also need volunteers to help organize and participate in our lake-wide pull events, tabulate data, and document activities.
  • Become a Steering Committee Member! Committee members promote and support community involvement in Eurasian watermilfoil control activities, help organize and direct the milfoil control program, and provide important citizen input on milfoil management decisions. There is currently one vacant seat.
  • There are lots of ways to be involved, just call! 360-417-2442

Newsletters & Accomplishments

Spring 2016 NewsletterPlease check out our newsletter archive for the latest information on program accomplishments.

Lake Sutherland Management District Steering Committee

The Lake Sutherland Management District Steering Committee is composed of ten members appointed by the Board of Clallam County Commissioners.

Committee Members

  • Marie Marrs
    Term expires December 31, 2022
  • Dawn Sheidler
    Term expires December 31, 2022
  • Amanda Stanley
    Term expires December 31, 2022
  • Jim Haguewood
    Term expires December 31, 2023
  • Mike Price
    Term expires December 31, 2023
  • Gene Unger
    Term expires December 31, 2023
  • Theresa Faires
    Term expires December 31, 2024
  • Bill Kitner
    Term expires December 31, 2024
  • Robert Pepin
    Term expires December 31, 2024


Cathy Lucero
Noxious Weed Control Coordinator