Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lake Habitat Destruction

Many people look at aquatic vegetation as a nuisance. Who is it a nuisance to? The people or the lake? Everybody's been there. Weeds wrapped tightly around the prop, the trolling motor can't pull through the heavy mat, weeds sliding through your toes as you try to swim, etc. Well guess what? You're in a lake.

It seems as if all aquatic vegetation has gotten this bad rap, perhaps it's because of the Eurasian Watermilfoil outbreak. Too much of anything could be labeled as invasive. What is too much though? We see these weeds in large patches and think, wow look at it all. Put it into perspective though. If cattails surround the entire shoreline of a lake you would probably thing that's a lot. Not really. Look at the entire surface area of the lake as opposed to what you see weeds on. Lilly pads need to exceed 35% of the surface water to start causing harm. Not too many lakes we inhabit have nearly that much coverage. In all reality there is a lot more surface water than aquatic growth. As far as invasive goes, I think we are the most invasive. Us, the people. We tweek everything to meet our needs.

I have recently recieve an invite to a Minnesota based channel on the Internet. I checked it out before I accepted and I have to admit I was a bit upset. It was for a group that cuts this lake vegetation. I left my comment and denied.

Lakes are natural and what we do to them, isn't. Cutting all the cattails down and dragging all aquatic vegetation to obtain this perfect beach and park like setting is ruining our lakes. The lakes NEED this vegetation. Emergent vegetation like cattails acts as one of the best filter strips and reduces shoreline erosion. Lilly pads create fish habitat and shelter. They all have their place in the lake ecosystem. We need to stop disrupting this system.

For the most part, the reason people don't like the weeds is because it restricts recreation. I say, too bad. If you don't want weeds touching your legs while you swim, go to a pool. Stop turning our lakes into one. The number of people who own lake shore property is very small compared to the number of people who enjoy the lakes. Water is public and a few can ruin it for many. Imagine a lake with no weeds in it or around it. All you would have is a bowl of water. Sandy beaches and landscaped shorelines don't belong in Minnesota. It's like putting a sweater on a dog. Water is the heart of Minnesota. Improve habitat and let it remain glorious.