There are several beautiful lakes in New Rochelle, and each is both the centerpiece of a neighborhood and an asset for the entire community. Over the years, however, our lakes have become more ecologically stressed. Silt deposition has reduced the lakes’ depth and volume, while blooms of duckweed, watermeal, and lilies have impacted the lakes’ appearance.

The only real solution involves dredging the lakes to restore their retention capacity. While this objective is contained within the City’s Sustainability Plan, GreeNR, and is often referenced in our budget’s long-term capital priorities, the cost of dredging is very high — well into the seven figures — and it is unlikely that the City would be able to bear that kind of financial burden on its own, so grants would be essential to proceeding. In the meantime, we have tried a variety of less costly, short-term fixes, including aerators and manual cutting of overgrown plants, with only mixed results.

Last night, the Council unanimously approved a new set of actions for Paine, Beechmont, and Glenwood Lakes, including the use of an herbicide and a skimmer. The herbicide is reportedly approved for this purpose by relevant environmental authorities. I hope that these steps will prove at least modestly effective in improving the lakes’ appearance and condition. Because of the timetable for implementing this new treatment, the effects will not be evident until next summer. Meanwhile, we will continue working toward an eventual dredging project.

Council Members Barry Fertel and Ivar Hyden, whose districts encompass Beechmont, Paine, and Glenwood Lakes, took the lead in promoting this priority. (Carpenter’s Pond has already benefited from a major dredging project, undertaken a few years ago in partnership with the County government.)