Kitty Cole letter right on target

August 2, 2013

Kitty Cole’s letter to the editor (Cape Gazette, Friday, July 26, “Rehoboth should hold referendum on funding”) certainly was timely.

Three days prior, on July 23, an article appeared in the Cape Gazette, on page 4 titled, “Sussex gets serious about weeds.” The photo of the illegal overgrowth that accompanied the article made me think immediately of Lake Gerar in addition to a section of Silver Lake recently “improved” by Envirotech Environmental Consulting.

According to the July 23 article, Sussex County Council voted 3-2 to amend regulations, enforcements and penalties aimed at property owners who allow weeds or grass to grow taller than 12 inches on their property. The article quoted Eddy Parker, the county’s director of assessment: “The intent of the ordinance is to provide a way to deal with the overgrowth in rural residential areas in an effort to curb fire, safety and rodent issues.”

Anyone who has driven across the Lake Gerar Bridge or past the “improved” section of Silver Lake (East Lake Drive south of Prospect Street) would be dismayed at the height and depth of the weeds and overgrowth. Kitty Cole, in her letter, specifically mentioned an unusual influx of wild animals, such as muskrat, snakes and shore rats since the “improvement” of Lake Gerar by Envirotech.

As a resident at 7 Prospect Street, in full view of Evirotech’s shoreline “improvements,” I too have noticed an influx of wild animals in the weeds and overgrowth along Silver Lake. I have also had to deal with bits and pieces of Envirotech’s biologs that were supposed to protect the shoreline by serving as anchors for shore stabilizing vegetation. Instead of protecting the shoreline, they have broken off because of the heavy wave action, and have drifted north with the current, lodging and decaying along my riprap and under my dock.

According to Todd Fritchman of Envirotech, the biologs are supposed to decompose after three years and serve as a substrate for shore stabilizing vegetation. Unfortunately these logs are not decomposing as described by Mr. Fritchman. They are breaking away, in many cases with their vegetation intact. Since April 1, I have been cleaning up the bits and pieces of logs, the vegetation and the slimy filaments that make up the logs that, because of the waves and the currents, float north and become attached to my riprap. All I can say is, what a nasty mess!

To the best of my knowledge, these Envirotech projects have been advocated and encouraged by Save Our Lakes 3 (SOLA3). If anyone at SOLA3 had spent the effort researching biologs and lakeside bank erosion, they would have learned that there are situations where riprap is preferred because it is permanent. Over time, on the east side of Silver Lake, the biologs will erode away along with the vegetation because of the heavy wave action.

I must add, when I drive across the Lake Gerar Bridge, I am always on the lookout for any sign of life on the water: a sea gull, a Blue Heron, even a duck. But month after month, it never changes. Lake Gerar is barren. There are no signs of life - just the bubblers, bubbling. Hasn’t anybody noticed except Kitty Cole? Like a sterile landscape from a science fiction movie, it really is the Dead Sea. It’s time to take the advice of Eddy Parker: Cut down the weeds and give the lake back to the people. Stop spending the taxpayers’ money on ill advised and poorly designed solutions to lakeshore erosion.

Enid S. Lagree
Rehoboth Beach

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