Record file — Green scum was evident in the water at Lone Lake in July. The lake has had water quality issues as of late, and as a result the Lone Lake Property Owners Association is trying to devise an algae management plan.

Record file — Green scum was evident in the water at Lone Lake in July. The lake has had water quality issues as of late, and as a result the Lone Lake Property Owners Association is trying to devise an algae management plan.

Property owners attempt to save Lone Lake

The past few years haven’t been the best for Lone Lake.

A favorite for outdoor enthusiasts ranging from anglers to sailors, Lone Lake’s has continually deteriorating water quality due to toxic algae blooms. In the past year, things have gotten so bad it’s caused user groups to take their activities elsewhere.

Luckily for them, a group of homeowners are stringing together a coordinated attempt to save Lone Lake.

“As a result [of the algae blooms], the homeowners association of Lone Lake under the direction of Mark Sytsma, director of the Center of Lakes and Reservoirs and professor of Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University, is applying to the Washington Department of Ecology for a $50,000 grant to research and prepare a Lone Lake algae management plan,” Lone Lake resident Tom Langley said.

The group is hoping to score the state grant monies in order to fund extensive research looking into the causes of the lake’s declining water quality and what can be done to save the lake. With Sytsma, who is a new resident in the Lone Lake area after leaving his role at Portland State University, the collective has expertise in the field of lake restoration. Ultimately, the group’s goal is to devise a plan to manage toxic algae levels.

Members of the Lone Lake Property Owners Association have reached out to South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District and numerous user groups to garner support for their grant effort. Langley represented the group at this past week’s monthly parks commissioners meeting to ask for support. The commissioners were all on board with the effort, and Parks Director Doug Coutts said he would draft a letter on behalf of the commissioners. With letters of support, Langley says the group has a better shot at the funding.

“That lake has been an issue for years,” Commissioner Dennis Hunter said. “Thank you for taking this on.”

The parks district isn’t alone in its support.

“Just to give you an idea of the support, we’ve had 15 different user groups who are now supporting this,” Langley said.

The effort from the Lone Lake Property Owners Association comes after a difficult summer for the lake. In June, water quality tests revealed the lake contained neurotoxin levels more than 150 times over the state recreation limit. The neurotoxin found was Anatoxin-a, which can disrupt the link between nerves and muscles and can lead to convulsions, loss or coordination and even death by respiratory paralysis. There was at one point visible evidence of the neurotoxin as a layer of green scum covered much of the lake surface, although neurotoxins can also be present in clear water.

Water quality issues at the lake have been going on for a while, though. In September 2016, a large fish “die-off” saw roughly 1,000 rotting rainbow trout wash ashore due to low dissolved oxygen levels and warm water temperatures. Multiple factors contributed to the low oxygen, including the lake’s shallow nature and hungry grass carp. The carp were introduced years ago to rid the lake of invasive Brazilian elodea, but over the years they’ve eaten too much of the oxygen-producing vegetation in the lake. This past summer, bow fisherman fished out the carp to reduce the population.

Record file — Clyde Jenkins of the South Whidbey Yacht Club collected water samples from Lone Lake in July. Efforts to monitor the lake’s water quality have been community-driven.

Record file — Clyde Jenkins of the South Whidbey Yacht Club collected water samples from Lone Lake in July. Efforts to monitor the lake’s water quality have been community-driven.

More in News

New education, training program for juvenile court

Island County Juvenile Court will soon start a pilot program aimed at… Continue reading

Paula Ludtke, SWHS teacher and choir director, sang a rendition of “Thanks for the Memories” to Chris Gibson to honor him for his five years of service as Foundation Board President. Photo provided. Photo by Laura Canby.
Schools foundation ends year with gala, awards

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation followed up its annual fundraising gala —… Continue reading

Expert says chief followed right protocol

David Marks’ arrest of suspect ‘exactly what we teach’

Photos by Whidbey Camano Land Trust
                                Taylor Schmuki, left, and Kyle Ostermick-Durkee, both part of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s stewardship team, study the plant life this spring in a newly protected forest on South Whidbey.
Conservation Buyer Saves a Whidbey Island Forest

By RON NEWBERRY Special to the Record Pat Powell has worked with… Continue reading

Sailor shoots man, himself

A Navy man shot another man and then himself in Oak Harbor… Continue reading

Trooper, ranger try to prevent man from jumping off bridge

A trooper with the Washington State Patrol and a ranger with State… Continue reading

Valetta Faye will perform at Ott & Murphy Wines in Langley.
Singing sensation comes to South Whidbey

Singing is her passion, music is her soul. That’s singer Valetta Faye’s… Continue reading

Shhh…it’s a surprise party for old-timer Bill Lanning

Friends, customers invited to celebrate former owner of Bill’s Feed Tack

Retail sales grew in Island County, Langley

New numbers released by the state Department of Revenue show that Island… Continue reading

Most Read