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Date: December 16, 2005
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Straight Talk About Sonar*
Carmel, IN - Until recently, it's been difficult to find reliable, unbiased data on the fate of aquatic plants that have been subjected to treatments of fluridone, the active ingredient in Sonar* Aquatic Herbicide. Much to the delight of aquatics industry insiders-particularly SePRO Corporation, the makers of Sonar-someone is finally doing something about it.

Dr. Kenneth Wagner is a consultant with ENSR International, a global provider of environmental and energy development services to industry and government. Wagner has spent twenty years working on a variety of water resources assessment and management projects focusing on lakes and water supplies with technical specialties in algae and aquatic plant management technique selection. A PowerPoint presentation and forthcoming technical paper developed by Wagner explore data assessing the impacts of fluridone treatments on a variety of aquatic vegetation.

"I've spent many years as a consultant doing evaluations of lakes and looking at the target species," said Wagner. "But the first question I always get is, 'What about the native vegetation?'"

The presentation and paper summarize a study that takes the entire Sonar treatment story into account with a focus on species richness and individual species' responses while quantifying, according to Wagner, "what survives, what doesn't and for how long; all broken down into multiple dose categories." The study covers high, moderate and low doses of Sonar and their effects on both target and non-target vegetation. Wagner set out to evaluate, on a treatment-by-treatment basis, how many types of plants are in a given waterbody before and after a Sonar application and then analyze major changes resulting from treatment. A primary conclusion of the research is that a lot of different things can happen.

"There is never one answer," said Wagner. "You have to take it lake by lake and say, 'This is what will most likely happen.' This is biology-there is not a yes/no answer."

Some generalizations can be made, however. Almost universally, a lower dose of Sonar lowers the probability of impact on non-target species while raising the probability that the target species survives. Wagner concludes that, where a lake-wide Sonar treatment is desired, the "choice of a low dose or a moderate dose will depend mainly on the desirability of preserving the existing non-target plant assemblage." In addition, the study asserts that each lake must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine its suitability for a Sonar treatment, and places little value on broad assumptions or categorizations.

Wagner has presented the lecture to water resource professionals and interested citizens three times to date while the paper is scheduled for release at the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) meeting in November, 2005. By presenting and publishing the results of the study, Wagner hopes to get more people interested in the data he's accumulated and eager to contribute their own.

"There's more and more data every year," said Wagner. "But it's hard to find good plant data for multiple years after treatment." One initiative that will be part of the paper is guidance given to those who wish to efficiently and effectively monitor, collect and report future Sonar treatment results data. Through the use of better monitoring there will be more complete data for better decision making over time.

For more information about the complete line of Sonar Aquatic Herbicides as well as other SePRO products, services and technologies, visit or call 1-800-419-7779.
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