Do you love your lake and want to protect it? Listen to this day brightener.
Gathering material for my book, For Love of Lakes, my wife and I visited 46 lakes to better understand the interaction between people and their lakes. Some were crystal clear, where we could see bottom more than 20 feet down. In others, overrun with blue-green algae, we could see only inches into the water.
Our travels took us to many places including southern Minnesota’s corn and soybean country. There, many of the 14 lakes we visited were murky with pesky blue-green algae.
Among those highly degraded lakes was Lake Volney, a small lake southeast of Le Center in Le Sueur County. Volney and a number of other such lakes found a spot in my book, sadly for the wrong reasons.
Now flash forward several years.
This fall I attended the Minnesota Waters’ awards banquet, an event to honor people and groups who had worked hard for lake stewardship in 2011.
I about fell off my chair when the winner of the Lake Association of the Year was announced. Yes! The Lake Volney Association.
Visible depth had been increased to 12.5 feet as measured with a Secchi disk (see video on the lower left of my home page).
How did it happen? Association members said, “Enough, already!” and went to work. They implemented a spring cleanup to significantly reduce the flow of phosphorus flowing into surface waters by removing leaves and yard debris, thereby reducing algae growth in the lake. Shore owners restored shorelines by planting native vegetation buffers, and built rain gardens to filter runoff before it entered their lake, among other actions.
What a great example those Lake Volney folks set for the rest of us. We, too, can make a difference for our own deteriorated lakes.
Yes, we can!