The city’s latest investment for the lake has rightly caused some controversy: it seems one person’s “weed harvester’ is another person’s ‘aquatic habitat destroyer.’
I encourage people to take a balanced view of the overall picture. Williams Lake is an old, warm, nutrient-rich lake, in contrast to some of the colder, clearer lakes in the surrounding area. It is at the bottom of a large, highly populated, and agriculturally rich drainage area. So yes, all the muck, nitrogens, and phosphates draining into it cause it to be murky and cause plant life to thrive in it. But you have to remember, the plants don’t cause the murkiness, rather the nutrients cause both the visible (the “weeds”) and invisible (that lovely green tinge you see when swimming) plant life to thrive. The plants actually help process and filter all that muck. Without them, the lake would be a cesspool. In addition, please remember that the lake plants are an important habitat for wildlife, for example fish (and the birds who depend on them for food) and painted turtles.
I am fortunate enough to live and play on the lake; I am well aware of how big a nuisance the lake plants can be: I have to go around them (or through, blech) to swim, paddling my kayak is a pain, my dog gets a rash from them.
Nonetheless, I am willing to leave them alone because I realize how important they are for the ecosystem. Also, for those who have property on the lake, remember that you only own to the high-water mark; the lake and its plants belong to the crown. Please let the biologists and ecologists decide what should be done in the water.
I also concede that a plant-free swimming area on Scout Island is important, as are open boat launches. By all means, the machine is bought and paid for, use it to keep those areas and only those areas clear, but please let the rest of the lake keep its important aquatic habitat.