November 26, 2014
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Invasive species at Warwick

To the Editor:

The RI DEM should be ashamed. A couple of weeks ago they were called to Warwick Lake (Pond) because someone complained about a male swan. Apparently people said he was a bully and chasing people and dogs. The male swan had a mate and four babies at the time. The only thing the male swan was guilty of is raising a family and protecting his young. The DEM took the male swan and destroyed him. This left the female to herself with her young; she is now down to three babies.

The DEM assertion is that swans are a non-native species and destroy the natural ecosystem. The DEM states they are doing their part to control the population. This includes destroying them if a complaint is made and egg addling (finding the nest of eggs and shaking the eggs so they will not develop). Swans were brought here over a hundred years ago from Europe for decoration in parks and private ponds. Since that time, they have been wild in Rhode Island. How long does it take before swans are no longer considered non-native?

If the DEM wishes to save the ecosystem, perhaps they should be more involved with the other issues with Warwick Lake. There is a “fire lane,” which is designed for emergency access to the lake. This has become a public boat launch and beach. There are posted No Parking signs, and on any given day you can find cars left in the fire lane; this blocks the fire personnel in the case of an emergency.

Also, the lake has rules posted for public use. These include no one on the lake until 12 p.m. on the weekends. Again, any given weekend we have people show up as early as 6 a.m. This amount of traffic is not meant for a lake the size of Warwick Pond. The reason everyone comes here, including now from Massachusetts, is because there is no one regulating the law. Often there are unregistered trailers, boats, minors driving jet skis, not to mention all the trash left behind (which is picked up regularly by the residents of the neighborhood, not the boaters). We have daily violations of boating etiquette as well. Jet skis doing full speed near the shore, which is wreaking havoc on resident shore/property line from the constant waves.

The police are called regularly to enforce the no parking rules in the area but have no authority for on-water issues. Warwick Lake has never had any designated harbormaster to make sure the rules of the water are followed or equipment is properly registered. As of late, we have been finding a new breed of clam in the water. These clams are typically a salt-water species. Could this be from cross contamination from boats and jet skis that are not cleaned properly?

Moral of the story is a swan is a non-native species and is subject to being destroyed, yet any person from out of town can come and abuse the water and land at no cost! Great job DEM and city of Warwick.

Connie and Richard Mero

Warwick


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