No matter how much you love the planet, it’s understandable that some things might get to you. Like seaweed. The slimy green stuff has received a lot of attention on Lake Hopatcong lately, thanks to a renewed effort to do some weed harvesting this summer. But those efforts are scaled back and likely won’t venture close to docks, so what’s a swimmer-who-hates-weeds-in-his-or-her-toes to do?
There are chemical herbicide options that are said to be safe for the broader lake environment. Alum, for example, prevents the release of phosphorus and therefore reduces plant growth. And Aquamaster is said to be an effective herbicide that doesn’t remain in the lake bed. But in order to put any chemicals in the lake, you need to secure a permit with the Department of Environmental Protection.
For those who are averse to the idea of using chemicals, the Aquatic Weedblock is an environmentally safe bottom screen that suppresses submersed weeds and biodegrates slowly over a long period of time. It limits the amount of sunlight that reaches the lake bed, but has a weave that allows aquatic life to find food and habitat. Biodegradable tubing is built into the screens, which is filled with sterile sand to keep the system weighted and secure on the lake bottom.
These screens are better than alternatives that residents have been known to try that involve weighing down various materials that are not biodegradable and not removing them from the water. Not only is this harmful to the lake and considered a form of pollution, it’s illegal and can, at times, actually be dangerous. As the weeds decompose, gases are emitted that rise to the surface and can get trapped under these homemade non-porous bottom screens. This causes a condition known as "ballooning," which often interferes with boat operation, fishing, and water sports. These gases, when contained and emitted all at once, have a foul odor and can be extremely noxious.
LMI, which is based in Lake Hopatcong, sells the Aquatic Weedblock online (www.lmimg.com) and will provide free delivery to anyone on Lake Hopatcong who purchases a system. LMI (named after a pet yellow lab, "Lady Magic," who lived more than 17 years) also sells organic animal repellants, pond care products, Dock Bubbler Systems, and a variety of freeze-control products.