Overgrown cattail marsh blocks Kenora boaters

Residents of Kenora are appealing to the city for help clearing a waterway of troublesome clogs caused by an overgrown cattail marsh.
A Laurenson Lake resident cuts through a section of floating cattail marsh to clear a path to Lake of the Woods in May of 2013. The root mass of the floating mats are about two feet thick. (Supplied)

Residents of Kenora are appealing to the city for help clearing a waterway of troublesome clogs caused by an overgrown cattail marsh.

David Schwartz lives by a creek that runs between Laurenson Lake and Lake of the Woods.

In the summer, large pieces of marsh have been breaking away from the shore and blocking Laurenson Creek, and Schwartz said it causes problems for boaters.

This aerial photo taken near Kenora, Ont. in May shows the sections of marsh which can, depending on water levels, winds, and current, clog the navigation channel. The channel is blocked in the upper right of the photo. (Supplied)

"They may be planning an outing … get the boat all loaded up and motor down the creek and find out they can't get into the Lake of the Woods,” he said. “Or, alternately, they may get out, and find they can't get back home again."

Kenora city council has agreed to work with residents to come up with a solution, hopefully before spring, Schwartz said.

In the meantime, local residents have been taking on the task of clearing the waterway. Schwartz said sometimes they are able to break it up with a chainsaw, but other times they aren't able to move the blockages.

Schwartz said he feels the federal and provincial governments have responsibilities, but don't seem prepared to take on the work. He said he’s hopeful the municipality is in a good position to take it on, as it has done some clearing in the past, and has the right equipment to do so.

Schwartz added the clogs of marsh may also create "weak spots" on the ice during the winter, as the blockages change the nature of the ice.

Lake of the Woods is one of the most popular recreation areas in northwestern Ontario. (Google)

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