Summer has finally arrived, bringing with it the return of swim season, flip flops.... and Canada Waterweeds (Elodea canadensis).
The Township of North Glengarry recognizes that while the water lilies in Alexandria's Mill Pond are pretty when they're blooming, the algae and Canada waterweeds create less than ideal swimming conditions. "We remain committed to an aggressive strategy to reduce weeds in Mill Pond. The Township opened discussions with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with the assistance of the Raisin River Conservation Authority, and obtained a Letter of Approval to start removing noxious weeds at an earlier date. Work is planned to start on or around June 15," says the municipality.
The Township will ensure that spawning fish nests are well identified prior to the removal of the weeds as a method to mitigate the risk of interrupting the spawning season of fish that call Mill Pond their home.
The removal of weeds from Mill Pond is accomplished by using a weed harvester that was purchased in 2016. The bright orange weed harvester looks a bit like a paddle boat crossed with a sand screener. It is capable of navigating through shallow water at a slow crawl and removing weeds with extreme care. It is operated by a single driver who circles the lake in rotating patterns. The weeds collected are deposited on the shoreline and removed for composting.
"By removing nutrients from the lake (the weeds), we improved the fish habitat by promoting an increase in dissolved oxygen for aquatic life. The harvester pulls weeds from depths up to around five feet and collects them for removal from the lake. If we were to simply cut the weeds and allow them to sink to the bottom of the pond, we would be returning nutrients to the lake bed, which would aid in the proliferation of the Canada waterweed," says the township.
In anticipation of this weather, the Township has also made some recent improvements to Island Park. The beach is raked and ready for visitors and the water is warming up quickly.
"We remain committed to creating a family-friendly space that is both beautiful and accommodating and are improving circulation in the park by widening the walking paths. Construction is ongoing but should be completed well in time for the Canada Day activities. Come visit us at Island Park, located at 102 Derby Street West, in Alexandria and see for yourself just how beautiful Mill Pond is in the glistening sunlight!"