Waterfront campsites at Wilson Lake will be closed Sept. 18-22 to allow for invasive species control

Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Sept. 8, 2023
A helicopter sits on a slab of concrete with a lake and blue sky in the background.

A helicopter prepares to fly over U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ lake to use an herbicide to control invasive species.

All waterfront campsites at Wilson Lake, near Sylvan Grove, Kansas, will be closed the week of Sept. 18-22 because a helicopter will be flying near the shorelines using an herbicide to help control phragmites.

Campgrounds affected include Lucas Park, Minooka Park, Otoe State Park and Hell Creek State Park. Campsites that do not border the water are still available for camping.

Phragmites, also known as common reed, are an invasive plant species. The helicopter will be using imazapyr, an aquatic-safe herbicide, to control the phragmites. Imazapyr is non-toxic to humans, fish and wildlife. Using a helicopter to apply herbicides is a common control method and has been used previously by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

While imazapyr is non-carcinogenic and safe for use, the waterfront campsites will be closed out of an abundance of caution to allow for the low-flying helicopter to be able to spray all areas of phragmites near the shoreline.

The helicopter will spot spray imazapyr along 50 miles of shoreline from Duval Cove going east to the dam, south to Hell Creek, and then west just past Minooka Park. 

Without proper eradication, phragmites will crowd out shallow water and create a safety concern as it eliminates exposed shoreline by growing far out into the water. Phragmites can grow six feet deep into the water and six feet high out of the water, creating the illusion of shallow water and creating a higher risk of drowning.

Dense phragmite growth also creates flooding and navigation concerns by disrupting the water’s natural flow, by blocking or narrowing streams.

All other campsites will be available for camping during this week.

For more information or questions please contact the Wilson Lake Project Office at 785-658-2251 or wilson.lake@usace.army.mil.


Wilson Lake Project Office

Release no. 23-028