Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mackle Lake Being Choked by Hydrilla

There is a murder mystery being written on Marco Island. But unlike the stories being penned by local or national authors, we know the culprits responsible and can save the victim, if we move quickly to address the situation. This story doesn’t have to have a sad ending, but can result in the good guys winning, according to Bruce Brenner and a number of dedicated volunteers who have fallen in love with the potential victim.

Many of us walk by or around that victim everyday as we strive to stay healthy ourselves, however the Mackle Lake is slowly being choked to death by an infestation of hydrilla, an invasive weed which is rapidly choking off the vitality and life of the lake which has become an important part of so many lives here on the island.

If you take a walk around the once-pristine body of water at Mackle Park in the middle of the island, you’ll notice the hands of the culprit slowly tightening its grip around the lake itself. That grip consists of the rapid growth of the hydrilla around the circumference of the body of water which many enjoy each day.

The situation has deteriorated so badly the group which runs the Marco Island Model Yacht Club has petitioned the city to act before the situation deteriorates any further. The men and women who gather at the shore of Lake Mackle on a regular basis are fearful of not only losing this special piece of paradise, but having the situation worsen to the point that residents will no longer be able to enjoy the passive nature of the beautiful lake.

One needs only to take a walk along the pathway around the lake to see evidence of their concern for the future of this body of water.

Should the city fail to address the situation, the continued weed growth will eventually choke off the lake and the oxygen levels that bring life to that body of water. The fish population will die off, as will all life within the lake. As nothing grows within the lake the dead weeds will fall to the lake bottom and decompose. They will become the source of an intolerable odor for neighbors who live in the area and those that enjoy the recreational aspects of the lake.

Today you can walk out onto the simple floating dock used by the members of the Marco Island Model Yacht Club and see the evidence of a thriving eco-system that will soon vanish if nothing is done. When we visited the lake, an 18” tilapia had cleared a bed to lay her eggs and would be protecting the younger fish as they grew into maturity. The hydrilla was quickly moving towards that area and will soon encroach on her bed and choke off that area.

Brenner and his group are working with the city staff and the Interim City Manager to find a solution to the issue and move forward in a proactive manner to save the small gem that gives so much joy to so many. Because of the lake’s size, aquatic plant management discussions may also have to be held with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in regards to that final plan of action.


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