by Doug Karman, 2023 LLMD Chair
Another year, another set of challenges. Below are two photos of my lakefront, one in September 2022 and one in September 2023. Just looking at these two photos reinforces how each year is different. Notice the depth of the water, color of the water and the difference in weeds. All of these contribute to the complexity of trying to manage the lake for recreation as well as the fish and other organisms that contribute to a healthy lake.
My home is at the far south end of Long Lake. This is a picture of our waterfront on September 21, 2022.
Note the water level on the bulkhead and the thick algae.
Now look at the picture below.
Taken at the same location this year on September 12, 2023. The water is slightly turbid with some floating weeds and about 9 inches shallower which is more like a normal September low.
It took a lot of time for the lake level to go down this year and that caused us great concern in the early summer. We walked the outlet, did an aerial drone inspection and tried to figure out why the water didn’t go down when the outfall into Woodland Creek from Lois Lake was dry.
While there is a lot of grass growing in the outlet stream and there are some trees that have fallen over the stream, there was no real blockage and the 2023 photo shows us that the issue was an aquifer water table issue rather than an outlet issue. Here too is one of those climate/environment situations that we have to try to learn from. However, we are working with the City of Lacey to remove those trees that have fallen over the outlet. While they are not causing a blockage at this time, they can trap floating debris and cause a blockage in the future.
Algae and Phosphorus management:
Susan Draper authored the “Long Lake 2023 – Year End Weed and Water Quality Workplan Report” posted in September. Please CLICK to read that report. It should be noted that we really have 3 options available to manage the phosphorus and algae in the lake. They are as follows:
Do nothing – In 2020 we all saw what that can result in a lake that is repugnant.
Do a lake treatment like we did in 2007 in the south basin. This was our in our planning back in 2019. That treatment was very successful and cost just $300,000 for which we received a grant from the Department of Ecology. Repeating this in both the north and south basins without a grant and at 2023 rates would cost about $1,300,000 in 2023. We had started putting money in a reserve account to implement this program in 2027. However, with the algae explosion of 2020, we learned that we couldn’t wait until 2027. Our options were to do nothing for the next 8 years while funds grew or begin some annual phosphorus management to help curb the phosphorus that comes into the lake naturally.
Change the prescription to manage the phosphorus each year to minimize the algae blooms to a tolerable level. This could be done at a cost of $100,000 to $150,000 each year. While we can afford this option, it will take some tweaking over a couple of years to get it right. It also won’t result in the significant improvement a whole lake reset, as in #2 above would accomplish.
Your Steering Committee has chosen #3, as the option most viable and safe for the lake.
You have all seen the algae accumulated on top of floating weeds and attached to weeds growing in the lake. This is primarily dying filamentous algae. You can also see it as a green cotton candy kind of “glob” in the lake. If we were to manage it, we would need a totally different kind of approach. While there are specific recommendations for treating these algae, most of them are far down the list of safe products. Therefore, you will not see us doing much about filamentous algae until we can study it in greater depth to determine a safe, cost-effective prescription.
Filamentous algae seem to form in confined areas around the lake and then spread out. We know that some of these areas are over springs where nutrients are introduced from the ground water. The other suspicion is failing septic systems too close to the lake. In some of the older houses, the septic drain fields are on the lake side of the house. If you have one of those you should start working on moving the drain field to at least 100 feet away from the lake.
The LMD Weed Committee tours the lake to both visually and physically observes the nuisance and noxious weed growth. Due to the turbidity of the water, this was an almost impossible task. The water was clear until early July and there were no weeds present. Then the water became turbid and we couldn’t see any weeds until they got within 6 – 12 inches of the surface. Please see the (2023 WEED REPORT) to learn more.
We are in the final years of “eradicating” the invasive Fragrant Water Lily.
This year we treated all of the small areas around the lake which will almost complete our program. Our goal is to come as close to eradication in the bulk of the lake as is possible without affecting the native Yellow Water Lilies. In the Mill Pond, Zone 15, we will work at controlling vs eradicating. Following is a copy of the zone map for your reference.
Changes in the LMD/County relationship:
The County is looking at changing not only how we do business but also through what organization. They are currently not far enough along for me to give you much information regarding this change. I hope to have an update to provide in the Long Lake News Blog in late October. The county goal is to have a new system in place by the first of the year 2024. With little time to accomplish this we will assist as much as we can to make any change as seamless and beneficial as possible.
Annual Meeting SAVE THE DATE:
Thursday January 25, 2024. Be sure to put this date in your calendar. We will have important information to report on including the organizational changes the County is proposing and the regular periodic LLMD renewal process. Our current LMD will expire on December 31, 2025, and the process to renew will begin early in 2024.
Please visit the whatsuplonglake.org website regularly and subscribe here
to receive and view important updates. We'll also post specific time and the attendance options for our January 25th annual community members meeting. The health of your lake depends on it.
I encourage you to take the time to thank those individuals from your neighborhood who volunteer their time to manage the water quality of Long Lake. They are dedicated individuals and give freely of their time and energy to make things better for our community. You can find their names on the web site. If you would like to join the Steering Committee, we have openings in the following neighborhoods:
Afflerbaugh Island - 1 vacancy
Lakeridge Panorama Point - 1 vacancy
Mayes Road - 1 vacancy
You can contact me at email@example.com. to discuss Steering Committee membership as well as any other input you may have regarding your LMD.
Thank you, Doug
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