Conference Exposes Water Quality Issues Common to Local Lakes
This posting courtesy of KEA staffer Julie Vanmiddlesworth:
The 9th annual Lakes Conference held last Saturday at Spokane Community College revealed that many of Idaho and Washington’s lakes are plagued by common problems. Invasive species and high nutrient levels are degrading the waters of many of our beloved lakes.
Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper advocated for a wider approach to Milfoil control in Lake Pend Oreille, which has been limited mainly to the application of herbicides. Considering the limited success of herbicide application in Liberty Lake and Lake Pend Oreille, it seems that innovative, dynamic solutions such as altering lake levels to expose infested areas during cold winter months, hand harvesting, bottom barriers, nutrient reduction and isolated mass removal should play a larger role in the fight to control milfoil.
Hayden Lake is also in deep trouble. “The Hayden lake Project”, a documentary video produced by United Citizens for Responsible Growth, Inc. documents the impacts from elevated phosphorous levels in the Lake. Logging, development, unmaintained septic systems, overuse of our water resources, motorized boat traffic, ashes from campfires and forest fires, dishwashing detergent and fertilizer all contribute to the phosphorous load. Algae blooms, swimmer’s itch and degraded fisheries are a result. The documentary was well received, although many of the conference participants know these problems all too well.
Can we refine our choices and consume less? Less land, less timber, purchase phosphate-free dishwashing detergent and fertilizer…. we may end up with pea green soup rather than clear, blue lakes if we do not.