Published: Aug 31, 2010 11:38 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 31, 2010 7:58 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral is walking a tightrope to protect its canals and keep residents happy.

But the hot temperatures are making it difficult.

This time of the year, the water tends to be warm.

In warm water there's less dissolved oxygen levels.

If the city gets rid of this excess vegetation, they could deplete oxygen levels even more.

That could create a massive fish kill.

"The fish would suffocate if there isn't enough oxygen," said Connie Jarvis, Environmental Superintendent with the City of Cape Coral.

Unfortunately, for people living along freshwater canals in the southeast part of the city, it's a tough choice: kill unsightly weeds and plants or fish.

Jarvis says many homeowners complain because the weeds take over the canals, making them look like marshes.

"It doesn't look very pretty," Jarvis said.

Right now, Jarvis' department is working with the county to treat the canals and get rid of the vegetation growing on top of the water.

But it's a tricky situation.

"It's all a balancing act between the residents and city needs," Jarvis said.

Cape homeowner Dan Wysocki says there's so much plant life in his canal, he can't use his boat.

"It's a wonderful resource, I can't really use," Wysocki said.

Dick Gilbert also is torn.

"It's nasty and it smells," he said.

both men have made homemade tools to get rid of some of the weeds.

"I built a rake. i would have big piles of vegetation that i would dispose of," Wysocki said.

Meantime, the city and county test the water six times a month to see where oxygen levels stand.

If they increase, they can get rid of the plants.

But it's a difficult situation.

The canal system has many uses: water retention, flood control, utility companies tap into it for irrigation, to name a few.

How to protect the canals ecosystem and make residents happy takes a lot of thought and planning.

As a result, officials are working on alternative ways to remedy the problem.