Lake Summit

T his Friday at 1 p.m., the public will have opportunity to weigh in on the future of Lake St. Catherine when the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund Inc. holds a “Lake Summit” at the Modern Woodman Hall’s tin building in Wells.

In addition to providing an update on lake restoration activities, the organization will present findings on various related topics along with its strategy for the lake’s future health.

The intent of the meeting is to inform lake area landowners about the need for aquatic corrections so residents can enjoy the lake as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

“We have been diligently looking into the legitimate things we can do to return the lake to a state of accustomed use,” said Lee Evans, secretary of the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund Inc.

According to Evans, the lake is facing several problems, including accelerated eutrophication that has made portions of the lake, specifically the “little lake,” unavailable for some of its former recreational uses.

Eutrophication is defined as the gradual increase in the concentration of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other plant nutrients in an aging aquatic ecosystem, such as a lake.

The increase in these substances promotes an explosion of plant life, and causes organic remains to be deposited on the lake bottom, which over time decreases the depth of the lake.

A lake depth survey conducted in 2007 found spots where sediment was up to 25 feet deep.

Evans contends that previous methods of combating the problem have only accelerated the process.

He said weed harvesters, known to locals as Hungry Harveys, were used on the lake, but they only made the lake look better without addressing the underlying problem.

After officials stopped using the weed harvesters, they started using aquatic herbicides, which killed the vegetation but didn’t remove it, leaving the weeds to break down. This added more sediment to the lake bed and created a new substrate for more vegetation.

Evans said the little lake has become so thick with vegetation that many boats have a difficult time passing through its water without their propellers becoming choked with weeds.

“We’re looking for other answers,” he said.

Organizers expect 75 to 100 people to be in attendance.

To learn more about the event visit www.lakematters.org.

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