• Last modified 504 days ago (Nov. 1, 2017)


Blue-green algae plan proposed for lake

Staff writer

A lake resident brought a well-researched call to action to county commissioners Tuesday in an effort to save the county park and lake from blue-green algae.

Mark Wheeler gave commissioners notebooks with research on blue-green algae plaguing the lake in recent summers, causing it to be closed to swimming and wading.

“I’m a full-time resident of the county lake,” Wheeler said. “I’ve been there for 10 years, and I’ve seen the decline of the lake.”

Wheeler said the nutrient levels of the lake, phosphates in particular, are the cause of the problem. High phosphate and hydrogen levels cause eutrophication, which promotes excessive growth of plants and algae, Wheeler said.

Wheeler showed commissioners state water surveys performed every even-numbered year, with the county lake listed as harmful to aquatic life because of eutrophication and dissolved oxygen since 2010.

“We all know that when the blue-green algae concentration is high enough, it will kill animals,” Wheeler said.

Solving the problem will take concerted effort by many people, Wheeler said, because the lake gets its water from several locations.

His recommendation is to eliminate use of yard fertilizer, relocate geese to eliminate their droppings along the shoreline, eliminate lake input from the north end watershed, and reduce chlorophyll levels.

Wheeler suggested holding a town hall meeting to inform the public, sending lake staff to Environmental Protection Agency training on measuring nutrients in the water, forming work groups to clean out lake coves, and building a skimming machine to remove contaminants.

It takes about 10 years for a lake to heal, Wheeler said.

“The bottom line is, we have to act now,” he said.

Commissioners listened attentively to Wheeler and followed along in the notebooks he handed them.

“You’ve done a heck of a job of researching here,” commissioner Randy Dallke said.

Wheeler asked if commissioners would put another discussion on their agenda.

Dallke said he’d have the county contact various state departments to see if they can help with the effort and then put it on the agenda.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Held an executive session with county counselor Susan Robson to discuss pending litigation;
  • Discussed transfer station needs with Bruce Boettcher of BG Consultants; and
  • Heard from Darin Neufeld with EBH Engineering that asphalt might start being applied to 330th Rd. next week.

Last modified Nov. 1, 2017