Posted: July 20, 2012
My girlfriend, Lisa, and I have spent countless hours the past three months pulling weeds out of the pond that we live on in the Village of Lake Hallie. It's a thankless job that often results in numerous bug bites and a foul odor on our swimsuits.
As I hear about property owners in West Central Wisconsin that are spending time and money trying to rid their waterways of invasive species of weeds, I have a newfound respect for their energy and dedication. Like us, the property owners wish to rid their lakes of nasty weeds that hurt tourism, fishing and the general cleanliness of their prized body of water. Obiously, our pond is not a tourist draw, but a clean pond is certainly attractive to potential waterfront buyers.
Although I realize that there are existing state and federal funding programs available to homeowners who try to clean up their lakes and ponds, I think more should be done to help preserve what precious clean waters we have in the Chippewa Valley.
I am reminded of former Governor Tommy Thompson's favorite line while on the campaign trail. He used to boast that "Minnesota calls itself the 'Land of 10,000 Lakes'. But at least we have fish in ours!" But fish can't grow and stay clean of bacteria if the waterways get damaged by increased development with lawn fertilizers and a general lack of care. As the water temperature on our pond approached 90 degrees, it became apparent that fish growth was likely to be stunted unless the weed population was diminished.
The high temperatures and drought conditions over the past few months have exascerbated the weed problem in our pond. In fact, the water level of the pond has declined by about two feet during the last six weeks alone. So, even though the weeds were there in April and May, we just couldn't see them until the surface lowered.
Waterfront property owners in Menomonie and Lake Holcombe should be proud of themselves. I applaud them for the time and effort being spent to make their recreational lakes more attractive to visitors and fishermen. I hope their efforts are not too late and I would like to see more tax dollars being used to help their cause.
Before more lakes, ponds, rivers and streams become damaged goods to the tourists, it would be nice to see landowners and developers get more involved in the cleanup process. If everyone banded together for just one or two weekends each summer, the outcome would be beneficial to everyone - not just the property owners. And then massive cleanup efforts through government programs would not have to be utilized at all.