Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flora - my lake

I learned something this week! It is always a good day when you learn something, so here is my attempt to teach you what I have learned.

The word of the day is: Spatterdock. Spatterdock is a perennial water plant that thrives in the shallow areas of lakes and ponds. This is spatterdock! It not only provides beauty with its large elephant-ear foliage and yellow orb-like blooms, but it is crucial to the well being of the mammal, marine and aviary inhabitants of the lake. Speaking of mammals, it is noted that even the Native Americans used this versatile plants for food at one time (I'll take a pass on that).

Considering what a beautiful useful plant this is, I was stunned by the carnage I witnessed one morning this week. I was sitting enjoying the peace of my lake when my attention was drawn to a large water-going vessel passing by. Not so unusual considering I live on a lake...but this one was different. It didn't look anything like a boat. I could try to describe it but the picture is worth a thousand words.

I watched this strange machine, I noticed it was scooping the spatterdock right out of the lake into a large basket...ripping its tender roots out of the lake floor, tearing the yellow orbs from their stems, shredding the large ears that gently undulate in the wind. I sat and watched in horror as this scooping, mulching machine made continuous passes back and forth through the large 'fields' of foliage, leaving in its wake open paths of water.

But seriously folks, spatterdock is quite invasive and there are those who do not like spatterdock...mainly boaters. It must have something to do with the fibrous four foot stems getting wrapped around the props of their ever so expensive engines. And then there are the fishermen who seem irritated by the fact that spatterdock can completely take over a small channel making fishing very hate when you spend more time untangling snags than catching fish.

So each year there is a culling of the 'fields' to make life more enjoyable for those who use the lake. I don't think they ask the fish, birds and other mammals who live in the vegetation for their opinion. I can't help to believe they might have a different opinion.

Even though I like the spatterdock, I like the idea of being able to paddle my kayak through the new channels created by the killing machine. It is like having my own man/nature made maze on the water.

Hey, maybe I will challenge someone to a race! Any takers?

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