Restricting Cattail Growth

Hello everyone.
I've been put in charge at our subdivision to look into reducing the cattail growth of the three ponds we have.
We don't want to eliminate them completely as the ponds are meant to look natural, but we want to reduce a good 75% of what we have now.
I plan to do some research, and if anyone has some links or guidance to get me started I'd appreciate it.
Thanks in advance.
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Purple Vetch is an aggressive weed that is displacing cat tails. Most people like cat tails, however.
Jamie wrote:

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Some of the answers will depend on your location. In Florida cattails are indicative of a degraded environment. They leave a lot of debris and contribute to a build-up of muck on the bottom as the plants multiply and older plants rot away. They can be replaced by more beneficial plants if the climate and water depth are compatible. In this area, (Florida) bulrush and spike rush are beneficial alternatives.
It's a multi-faceted problem, because in a homeowners' association you have a basic problem of runoff of fertilizers and pesticides from individual properties into the retention ponds. With warm weather, fertilizer, sunlight and moisture, something is going to grow, and you have to actively manage the process in order to keep the right plants in place.
It would be good policy to have a regulation that homeowners should not fertilize within 10-20 feet of the retention ponds, to help avoid runoff -- all of the lawn will be adequately fertilized without putting fertilizer right up to the water's edge, where it would encourage algae and cattail growth. You can also plant helpful plants at the water margin, such as blue flag iris, pickerelweed (needs control) or sagittaria ("duck potato"). These plants will do a good job of restricting the flow of fertilizers into the body of water. Regardless, you're going to need regular maintenance to control undesireable plants such as torpedo grass.
You may also have a basic problem in education homeowners as to the ecology of the retention ponds. Some will want to spray any emergent plant in the ponds, preferring the pond look like a lifeless, empty aquarium similar to a low-nutrient northern lake. Others will want to have the lake fill up completely with hydrilla because it may in the short term improve the fishing. Both extremes are to be avoided.
To remove cattails the best solution is to first cut the cattails down (preferably during a period of low water) and haul away the stems, then spray the stumps with Rodeo or other aquatic herbicide to kill the remainder of the plant. If you just spray the plants the dying stems leave a soggy mess that pollutes the water and is very hard to remove. Regards --

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Our ponds are in Southeastern Wisconsin. We have three ponds, one is 1.3 acres, the other is 1.75 acres, and the last a very small .9 acres. They are clay bottom (man-made), and only 6' deep at the max.
I will look into the methods you mention.
Thanks for the information!
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