Maybe you can answer a burning question I have had for some time now. I moved out of state about 30 years ago and at that time Silver Lake was a picturesque sight in downtown. When I came back a few years ago, all I saw around the lake were weeds. Some may call it a prairie garden, but all I can see are weeds that block the view of our beautiful lake. I am an amateur photographer and always loved taking pictures around the lake regardless of the season. I guess the real question is why was this done and how can we get the city to return our once beautiful views of the lake? -- Seeking the picture-perfect view

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, enjoy the color and quiet activity spotted in the natural shoreline as I occasionally wander through the park.

Of course, the answer to your question is easy to spot when taking those trips, since the city erected several informational displays around the lake, pointing to the primary purpose of the plantings.

Added in 2007, the creation of a native shoreline sought to reduce the amount of pollution reaching Silver Lake.

The pollution from eroding sediment, goose waste, litter and storm water runoff was having a negative impact on the lake, and parks staff developed a plan using a state grant and local stormwater utility funds to tackle the problem. The plants anchor the soil to prevent erosion and loss of sediment, and block the movement of litter.

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Oddly, your query comes now as the lake’s shores are largely plant free, following one of the periodic mowings of the lakeshore, which are done on a nearly annual basis.

Mike Nigbur, the city’s parks and forestry division head, told one of my minions that the latest mowing covered more area than normal, based in part on fall weather that allowed more to be done.

The mowings, like prairie burnings, help ensure the desired plants remain and aren’t choked out by unwanted invasive species.

If an unobstructed view of the water is sought, now is the time to get it. Otherwise, you could always make the added color of the native plants the background of a future photo. If you are patient, you’ll also spot bees and butterflies passing among the blooms.

Whether you wait for the plants to return or opt for a temporarily unobstructed view, a photo of either option will be better than a picture of a polluted lake teeming with decades of goose waste and shoreline debris.

Of course, that’s just my not-so-humble opinion.

Send questions for the Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com.