[USA] An unwanted blanket of lime green algae is spreading across iconic Lake Afton turning the normally picturesque scene into something looking more like a swamp.
In a move to stop the spread, raise awareness of the lake’s plight and chart a course for a healthier future, the Friends of Lake Afton have hired Princeton Hydro to conduct tests and to make some short-term and long-term recommendations to reduce and/or eliminate the slow green creep that threatens to turn the town’s prized lake into a swamp.
The spreading algae growth has been a concern of the FOLA for the past few years, enhanced this summer and last summer by the lack of rain and high temperatures, which combines to create a stressful environment for the fish and aquatic life that call the lake home by sucking life-giving oxygen from the water.
With the problem worsening this summer, FOLA members retained Princeton Hydro to give it some direction.
In July, the company conducted water quality sampling and monitoring to determine the nutrient and oxygen levels of the lake, in addition to testing the phosphoric content and measuring the aquatic weed and algae growth.
“Once we have collected all the data and reviewed it, we will provide the Friends of Lake Afton with recommendations for the future management of the lake,” explained Scott Churm, the associate director of aquatic operations for the water resource management and environmental consultant company. “Our goal is to try to improve the overall water quality for aesthetic reasons, recreation reasons and most importantly, for water quality.”
One way to make the lake healthier would be to dredge it, a project that carries a price tag of $750,000. That’s a lot of money for the Friends of Lake Afton, which boasts a very meager budget.
“There is also a potential we may be putting aquatic algaecide in the lake to control the algae,” said Churn, adding, “The overall objective is to find the best approach and to improve the overall quality for the future of the lake.”
Michelle Sharer, who serves as president of the FOLA and who lives next to and owns a portion of the lake, said the very safest algaecide possible would be used “so we don’t harm any of the wildlife in and around the lake. The FOLA is waiting to get a permit to allow the use of algaecide from the state Department of Environmental Protection.