Lake County officials are taking a more aggressive whack at the weeds that make the name Clear Lake a cruel joke.
They’re stepping up their weed abatement efforts, targeting areas around public boat launches, beaches, resorts and higher-density residential areas on the lakefront.
Some $300,000 is being invested in mechanical, eco-friendly abatement efforts to up the enjoyment level of people splashing in the lake during the summer season. Last year, by contrast, the county spent only $27,000 to clear out weeds on the lake.
Using mechanical harvesters called Acquamogs, county crews began just before the Fourth of July, cutting out weed-free lanes for recreational users. The shoreline lanes are 50 feet wide and will run parallel to the shore. The boating lanes will be 50 feet wide and 1,000 to 2,000 feet long so that boaters can get more easily to the deeper waters of the lake. The water ski lanes will be 300 feet from the shore and run parallel to it.
The weeds choking the lake now are not the same as the smelly algae that creates pungent slicks on the lake surface later in the summer. But both blooms are natural phenomena. When the water is particularly clear during the summer, sunlight reaches the shallow lake bottom, encouraging the growh of acquatic weeds that create a nuisance for boat propellers, sailboat keels and intake systems on personal watercraft.
While targeting high-use ares, the county will let the natural weed growth take over in more remote areas to maintain wildlife habitat on the lake, which at 68 square miles, is the largest natural freshwater lake completely within the boundaries of California.
And it’s a whole lot closer than Tahoe, with none of the 1-80 traffic backups.
For info on rent boats — everything from ski boats to pontoon boats and kayaks, call 263-2580 or visit lakecounty.com.