Long-term mil­foil plan is needed

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

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

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