Letter: SBA misleads town on status of Bowl
To the editor:
Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful morning on Stockbridge Bowl as I toured the lake on my paddleboard. Got to see a fisherman bring in a good-sized bass, was pleased to see down to 10-15 feet in clear water, appreciated the efforts of the Highway Department, which has done an amazing job of cutting the weeds, and, later in the day, got to see my grandchildren find two really big crayfish, a species that requires a good environment.
To hear the Stockbridge Bowl Association and its president, Richard Seltzer, tell it, the Bowl is a stagnant, weed choked pond in danger of immediate eutrophication. The latest charge that the harvesters are causing the spread of milfoil in the lake is yet another attempt to undermine the town of Stockbridge and its representatives as to their competence in managing the lake.
I have worked at the lake and been an avid canoe and SUP (Stand Up Paddle) racer on the Bowl for over 30 years. I remember clearly in the `80s when the lake was so choked with milfoil that it took two harvesters working full time just to make it passable. The weeds were so thick we had to constantly clear the prop so the motor wouldn't burn up and had to clear the keels on the sailboats so they could get out to deep water which, fortunately, the Bowl is blessed with.
Mr. Selzer would have us believe that the introduction of chemicals in the lake will solve all of its problems. First, the expert representing the SBA last winter at a Conservation Commission meeting said the chemicals were not a cure-all. Other measures would be necessary as well since milfoil is an invasive and, as such, difficult to eradicate. What was not mentioned was that currently the weeds that are cut are composted by a local farmer. Once the chemicals are introduced, the weeds are no longer useful as compost. Then what do we do? Furthermore, for the cost of chemical treatment, we could buy another harvester?
The worst condemnation is from the Berkshire County League of Sportsman who will not hold a fishing tournament in a lake that has been treated because there just aren't enough fish to make it worthwhile. The Bowl has a greater variety and number of fish than any lake that has had chemical treatment.
By the way, I was paddling on Pontoosuc Lake today and, oh, there are weeds there — in a treated lake. Milfoil becomes resistant to fluridone over time. A loser all around.
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