Long-term milfoil plan is needed
The Editor, Re: (“Milfoil foiled,” The News, Feb. 4), I would like to extend my congratulations to the Loch Garry Lake Association and to the township of North Glengarry on bringing milfoil under control in Loch Garry.
It is always a great feat to reduce the impact of invasive species in any ecosystem, and I commend your tenacity and willingness to find a solution.
I am curious as to what is the long-term plan for the lake. The invasive species is gone, but the supply of the control method (weevils) is also gone.
I am making assumptions based on last week's article, and a very quick Google search. The article states “the weevils that were stocked over the past three years have been aggressive in attacking the unwanted vegetation after they were introduced.”
Great news. What about milfoil that may have established in other parts of the lake? All it takes is a stem getting caught on one boat, and then it can spread. Is there a plan if the milfoil spreads to various sites in the south end of the lake?
Has anyone considered why the milfoil settled so well in Loch Garry in the first place? Why wasn't the native aquatic flora doing well? Go on Google maps, and look at the marsh in the northwest corner of Mill Pond. Why is the water green with a massive algae bloom? Why does the municipality need a $15,000 aerator to make Mill Pond swimmable?
Here's a theory; it's probably because our lakes are polluted from excess nutrient runoff. Right off the LGLA's website, the lake is “suffering serious oxygen depletion.”
Many lakes in North America suffer from the same problem, and the EPA suggests that it is due to human activity, such as sewage treatment and agriculture. Excess phosphorus is pointed at as a major culprit of last year's Toledo, Ohio toxic algae bloom. Therefore, if the problem shows up in Mill Pond, you can be sure it is in Loch Garry and Middle Lake as well.
I propose that the LGLA and North Glengarry look at more permanent solutions. I suggest documenting all surface water infiltration points on the lakes, and planting a riparian buffer on those banks that are bare. It does not have to be 20 feet wide and blocking lake access to our residents.
A simple voluntary planting of small trees, bushes, or deep-rooted perennials will both act as a shore stabilization and filtration of runoff elements, and can look great and provide food and economic benefits too. Encouraging local farmers to use fertilizers with less phosphorus is another aspect, and can be sold to them with recent studies showing some of our farmland is starting to show signs of phosphorus toxicity. Not to mention that algae blooms are zebra mussels' favourite food. Do we even want to make a welcoming environment for it?
In the end, milfoil is not the problem, it is a symptom of the problem. Let's protect our lakes. What's the plan?
Adrien Quenneville, South Glengarry