Lowering Laurel Lake to kill invasive species lauded, loathed
By Dick Lindsay
After six successful drawdowns to combat the two dominant invasive species in Laurel Lake, a citizens group is considering a deeper water-level reduction plan.
Citing the 2015 drawdown report, the Laurel Lake Preservation Association believes going from a 3 foot to a 5 foot drawdown each winter would kill off more of the Eurasian milfoil and zebra mussels that plague the lake. The LLPA says the previous four reports came to similar conclusions and the organization expects the same outcome for the yet-to-be generated winter of 2016 analysis.
Lowering Laurel Lake is the right call, but Lee wants to do it and Lenox doesn’t. Classic Lee v. Lenox nonsense at play here. South County is beautiful, and Lenox is the crown jewel of the Berkshires, especially for “out-of-towners,” but the millionaires have their flaws, and their nonsense rivalry with Lee is #1. Ninety some odd percent of the lake belongs to Lee anyway, but it is the Lenox crowd, which abuts 10% of the lake, that is making all of the noise.
So What’s the Problem?
The issue at hand is that Lenox insists that lowering the lake even further than it is typically lowered drains, and is thereby harmful to, marshland on the Lenox side of the lake. Of course, these marshlands- were they not marshlands- would have houses on them. The Lee crowd wants to control Eurasian Milfoil, which impedes oxygenation of the lake water, and allows minerals to collect making the lake look and feel more like a…drums…marshland! Laurel Lake is also ground fucking zero for zebra mussels, which are the genital warts of fresh water bodies. Zebras, which siphon algae from fresh water, and multiply faster than magwai, gather in pipes like those used by industries that rely on lake water. The pipes get clogged, businesses pay to have them removed and to have screens added to their pipes, said businesses, whose opinions are usually valued more than everyday citizens, get upset, and zebra mussels become public enemy #1 even though milfoil more negatively impacts fresh water bodies.
How Did This Happen?
Milfoil is said to have been introduced to the United States as a decorative plant in people’s fish tanks. When people that lived next to lakes didn’t want their tanks any longer, they would stupidly dump them in lakes and ponds, and milfoil found a home. The milfoil grew and spread so quickly because wealthy people with lakefront homes typically have septic tanks to collect their doodie and tinkle, and this waste leeches into lakes and feeds vegetation. Plus, any fertilizer tossed on lawns that misses its target and flies into the lake feeds milfoil, as does the runoff from said fertilized lawns. Zebras are believed to have originated in larger lakes, and they spread because they stick to boats. People in Berkshire County with the means to transport a boat to lake Champlain for a fishing trip put their boats in local lakes, and places like Laurel Lake became infested in no time.
What To Do?
Lower the lake. Invasive species are a human issue caused by humans, and failing to control milfoil and zebra mussels will result in a lake that is unusable, void of fish, and unattractive to lake-front home buyers. If we are going to build monstrous houses next to lakes, these are the consequences. What’s the alternative? Demolish houses next to lakes? That’s not going to happen. Treat with chemicals? If we have a more natural way to eradicate milfoil- like lowering the lake- then we probably should spray as little as possible. Unfortunately, lakes are filled with our trash, chemicals, tinkle, boat fuel, and invasive species, and we are past the point of no return as it pertains to having a clean Laurel Lake, so why not try to do what we can to keep the lakes safe for fish and human use for as long as possible?