You can call him a “scum sucker” — and mean it as a compliment.
Prospect Park-goers can thank nature technician Martin Woess — and the lake-cleaning boat he operates — for decreasing the amount of green slime that harms aquatic life in the watercourse, park officials say.
The city-sanctioned machine, dubbed the “Lake Mess Monster,” sucks up an invasive fern from the lake’s surface and stores it in the base of the boat, preventing the rapidly growing gunk from suffocating other organisms.
Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Paul Nelson credits the procedure with reducing the so-called Azolla Caroliniana bloom on park waterways.
“It’s one of the reasons why the lake is not choked with azolla, which is pretty much gone,” Nelson said.
Woess, who works for Prospect Park Alliance, steers and positions the machine’s vacuum-like apparatus over the slime once every week in the fall.
And proving that there really is a circle of life in Prospect Park, workers then compost the scum and use it as fertilizer in the park — killing one plant to help others grow.
The visibly less-green lake comes after park-goers complained over the summer that the thick slime scares away waterfowl, blinds turtles, and sickens mammals.
Some park watchdogs say the growth is still a problem, especially near the dog beach.
“Large mats of azolla are decomposing, causing widespread de-oxygenation of the water — affecting organisms such as fish and other aquatic life negatively,” said greenspace activist Anne-Katrin Titze said.
Nelson said the amount of scum has decreased in the past two months, but noted the agency has not officially tested levels of the azolla because one can simply eyeball it — unlike some forms of lake bacteria.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cn
©2012 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.