YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In one Long Island community, residents are fuming over a problem with their lakes that they say should have been taken care of years ago.
People living in Yaphank say the weed problem in lakes in the area is only getting worse, and after meeting with New York State and Suffolk County officials, they said they see no progress.
Resident Pauline Mize said she can’t look out at the lakes in her town without getting choked up. The overgrowth is part of an invasive plant species ruining what she said was once an oasis.
“There are mornings I’ve cried,” Mize said. “My first summer job was to row boats down here on the river and now you can’t put a paddle in the water because come up with weed and you get stuck.”
Residents said even five years ago the lake would have been filled with people and boats this time of year, but it is now empty.
Chad Trusnovec showed CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano pictures of what the lakes used to look like. People could be seen boating, swimming and fishing, but it has since turned into a ghost town.
“Unfortunately, my children don’t have the same opportunities that I had,” said Trusnovec, the president of the Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County said “We are committed to moving forward a dredge of the upper and lower Yaphank lakes as quickly as possible.”
The county said it’s spent some $200,000 on sediment sampling.
Since the lake is under the jurisdiction of the Town of Brookhaven, the county said those results will help secure a state permit to dredge the lakes and start the healing.
Residents, though, are skeptical.
“They’re dragging their feet. If it was a priority to them, it would get done,” said Adrienne Esposito with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
A Brookhaven council member said the town is not dragging its feet and that it is working on securing permits to dredge the lakes and hopefully get rid of the invasive plant problem.
Residents said while they can’t take their kids to the lakes now, they’re hoping one day that won’t be the case for the next generation.
Is enough being done to get rid of the invasive plant problem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…