Tangled green mess

August 2011 News

Thick lily pad patches at Venetian Cove Marina may look picturesque, but avid boaters say the plants' roots are tough and a nuisance, clogging and damaging their watercraft motors.

"Nine years ago, this was as clear as could be; it wasn't this way when I moved in here," Elmer Riggin said from the marina off Lake Harris, where he pays $120 a month to store his pontoon boat.

This year, the Leesburg resident noticed the underwater vegetation around Venetian Cove had thickened. He has found boating more frustrating as he spends additional time trying to remove the tangled roots from his boat's underwater running gear.

Ditto for fellow boater Wayne Miller of The Villages. Miller also spends more time than he wants cutting tangled weeds off his vessel engine.

The pair believes they are not the only frustrated boaters.

"You look and think that's only lily pads, but the roots just get huge," Riggin said. "Some are so big that you need an ax to chop the roots."

Riggin said the city's parks and recreation department, along with marina staff members, told him the area has been sprayed but that nothing else can be done.

Lake County's Mosquito and Aquatic Plant Management Division also oversees the site.

Eric Cotsenmoyer, director of the county's aquatic plant management division, encourages Riggin to call his office.

"We can go and investigate what he is referring to," Cotsenmoyer said. "We are funded through FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) to do evasive plant management, but it all depends on what the plants are. If they are lilies, they are beneficial to the system, we don't necessarily control those for any reason."

Cotsenmoyer said it would be in FWC's hands to decide if anything can be done.

Read more at http://www.dailycommercial.com/localnews/story/081011weeds

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