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The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency headed up by Ted Peters, took up the issue of the Starry Stonewort invasive species discoveries along the bottom of parts of Geneva Lake last week. Doug Skates was the most outspoken of the five deciders on the agency board. Ted Peters laid out the case for how the invasion had become much more serious since last fall when it was first discovered in one part of Trinke Lagoon (the lagoon has three parts).

Now, the first part of the lagoon is alive with the infestation, and it has spread into the second part. Also, two small spots of the species have been found just outside the opening of Trinke to the rest of the lake. Last year dredging of the lagoon had been considered but nobody could get organized enough to do anything, including the GLEA. Now the invasion is reaching the body of the lake, down to sixteen feet. Chemical treatments of the one part of the lagoon were attempted instead of dredging. The boaters in Trinke got to keep their boats in the water and their piers sturdy and straight. The fishermen got to come and go in the lagoon, as before but with some restrictions like some shrouds put around the invasive species to concentrate the chemical treatment that was attempted. The shrouds were broken open by personal watercraft and the chemical treatments failed.

So, what might one suppose the GLEA would propose to do about the spread of the infestation? Instead of dredging, which Doug Skates the Lake Geneva representative, said would not work (unknown reasons for his conclusion), the GLEA decided to proceed to decide to limit the infestation by using more

Doug Skates Lake Geneva

Doug Skates, here looking almost exactly how he is

chemicals. One speaker at the meeting likened this decision, unanimous as it was, to having a committee headed up by Monty Python. Yes, it was that stupid and so was Doug Skates. His main concern appeared to be in notification and inspection of all future boats using the lake, which is about as reasonable as, well, straining all the lake water or draining the whole lake.

Mr. Skates also indicated that Lake Geneva, the only community around the lake that would not sign a letter of commitment to do something about the spread of the Starry Stonewort, would sign nothing without knowing the price first. The committee met and was supposed to have a roll call and then comments by the public, but Ted immediately called for a vote on the Starry Stone Wart chemical solution until a member of the GSR staff stopped him and reminded him that there had been no public comments.

The chemical “solution” was moved and then seconded before it was delayed by this comment. Public comment was then allowed, after which the committee continued its vote and passed the “we give up and we are screwed” Starry Stonewort solution. Trinke Estates sent a wonderful couple to indicate that Trinke would do anything required of it…
no doubt probably knowing, since the vote was mere window dressing, that Trinke would have to do nothing.

The boats will remain for the season in their lagoons and the fisherman will continue to fish in there, and then all of them will continue to boat out into the lake proper. Inconveniencing wealthy people with their boats is not something to be accomplished lightly or easily, as proven by this deeply disappointing result. None of these people, so loudly proclaiming that they want to save the lake at all costs, said a damn thing except “we give up.”

Only Jim Weiss, in the back of the room, mentioned that the lake homeowners had to take a stand because the very fate of the lake is at stake. Only a very few people attending the meeting, and none of them voting members of the committee, appeared to give one damn at all.

Shame on you Ted Peters and the rest of that supposed environmental committee, and special shame should be assigned to Doug Skates.

Starry Stonewort – One, Geneva Lake – Zero.


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