News from the SLA: There are some limits
Fran Rotunno Fish
Last week while Bob Werner was surveying the lake for areas of milfoil which could be included in the matting done next year, he and SLA Board Member, Bill Dean, had the opportunity to talk with a number of people who live on the lake. We received much positive feedback during those conversations in regard to the work we have done and the progress we have made in controlling the presence of milfoil. However, we do know that there are areas where the milfoil removal and control process has not been able to be carried out as successfully. Two of our board members recently spoke with a couple on the south end of the lake who stated that they had been members of the SLA early on, but not recently, because they thought the SLA had forgotten the south end of the lake. Because the SLA board is sensitive to the concerns of the entire lake community, it takes this opportunity to explain the limits of what we can do.
Everyone needs to know that our efforts to remove and control milfoil growth are done with sanction/permission of specific governmental organizations. The sanctions/permission we have is only for efforts related to Eurasian Milfoil and no other vegetation. While originally our work was done with permission from the DEC, more recently the NY State Office of General Services, who have jurisdiction over the bottom of the lake from the low water mark to the bottom of the lake, is coming into the picture.
The matting of milfoil that is done each year is first of all limited by the amount of matting we have, which is 5 acres and the time we have to put it down given the seasonal weather (winds/storms), water temperature, the size of the team and number of boats and equipment we can put to work each year. For the past few years, with the funds we raise from member dues and small government contributions, our work plan and manpower is one team of divers working with the 3 types of boats equipped to do the various work. The amount of hand harvesting we can do in a year is limited by the time it takes to get the 5 acres of mats into place. That time is very much dependent on weather and water conditions.
There are other conditions that control the areas where we can put down mats. Areas where the lake bottom is very rocky are very difficult to mat as the divers cannot get the mats down flat enough to do the job of “killing” the milfoil. Areas where the bottom is very sloped are also difficult to mat, again because of the inability to get the matting secured in its position against the lake bottom. Finally, areas that are very “silty” are either impossible or difficult to mat as the divers’ vision is compromised the first time they put a foot on the bottom of the lake due to the silt clouding the water and impairing the view needed to safely continue to work. Another important principle we follow in our work plan is to focus on the largest patches, regardless of location, as they have the greatest potential for propagating more milfoil.
Unfortunately, the south end of the lake has many areas where both matting and hand harvesting very difficult to do because of the topography of the lake bottom or the amount of silt on the lake bottom. So it may of concern to some that we are not directing as much specific action on the south end of the lake or are not directing it to an area of significant milfoil growth in the south end of the lake. However, it must be noted that any milfoil growth control and removal anywhere in the lake is of benefit to the entire lake as all milfoil is a potential propagator of more milfoil.
We hope that these explanations will make it clear that our lake wide efforts benefit all of the lake community. We look to all with a vested interest in the lake to be annual members of the SLA, providing input in guiding our future work and financial support via the annual SLA member registration fee.
It has come to our attention that there may be individuals who are dealing with milfoil and, perhaps, other lake weeds with their own method of “harvesting.” This involves using a boat to drag an old spring mattress on the lake bottom to pull weeds out. Unfortunately, this method has a very poor outcome. First of all it creates thousands of fragments of milfoil which can send out roots and implant wherever it lands on the lake bottom and second of all, depending upon wind direction, it leaves a collection of milfoil on someone else’s shoreline to deal with.
You can join the SLA at SkaneatelesLake.org or by calling 315-685-9106 and asking for a member registration form to be mailed to you.
Please thank the following persons whose additional donations have supported the Milfoil Boat: 8/5/16 David Graham, 8/8/16 & 8/9/16 Carrie Lazarus and David Birchenough, 8/10/16 The Bryce Family Foundation; 8/11/16 Christine & James Hueber, Steve Mott, Randy Cobb & Jackie Brown, Linda & Russell Ruthig, Joyce & Robin Jowasis, 8/12/16 Jill & Kurt Rosell, 8/15/16 Jackie & Steve Miron, 8/16/16 & 8/17/16 Deborah & Edward Brennan, 8/18/16 Lorraine Rapp & Jeffrey Kirshner, Lynne Bales & John Priest, Jennifer Sutherland, Lynne & Dave Curtin, 8/19/16 Kathy and Paul Leone
Please thank the following persons whose additional donations have supported the Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards: 7/13/16 the Kelly Family, 8/14/16-8/19/16 Gretchen & Buzz Roberts
Source: Skaneateles Press