VLAWMO's annual water quality monitoring report will be available on the Waterbodies page by the end of December.
Highlights from this year's nutrient analysis of total phosphorus, suspended solids, and chlorophyll A include:
- Gem Lake's chemistry has improved over the last 3 years which may coincide with the work that was done on Highway 61 and the reconstructed grass swales flowing into the lake. There is the possibility the lake may be removed from the State Impaired Waters List. This is the first year in recent memory that there was no large algae bloom during the summer as well.
- Gilfillan is another lake that has been on the Impaired List. Since the augmentation system went in to raise the water level, the water quality has improved (most likely due to dilution). We have been told that no augmentation has occurred the last two years so it has been maintaining its level on its own.
- East Goose has some improved trends the last couple of years but it needs significant improvements to meet State water quality standards. VLAWMO removed 16 tons of bottom stirring bullheads and the roads have recently been reconstructed which may help with water quality. New best management practices are being installed in conjunction with local road improvements.
- West Goose is still high as well. West Goose's phosphorus levels were almost identical to East Goose. Normally East Goose is much higher.
- Wilkinson's phosphorus is over standards but this year the Chlorophyll A is below or at standard. Wilkinson acts more like a wetland and therefore what goes on in the watershed has a greater effect on the chemistry.
- Tamarack's numbers are still high. The floating wetland has not shown any effect as of yet. This is the first full year of monitoring. There were samples taken right next to the island and compared it to samples taken off the dock. There is no difference between the two spots. So far the water chemistry is similar to what was seen in the past. Monitoring will continue. The floating island currently provides good habitat and educational opportunities and will hopefully help improve water quality over the next few years.
- The other lakes are doing well overall. The report will be completed and will be on the website the end of December.
- Lambert Creek phosphorus numbers are still high but the samples at Whitaker were lower than they were in the past. The effect of rainfall can greatly affect results. We sample every 2 weeks with the hope that getting this many samples helps to create a defendable average.
- The two cell system at Whitaker continues to export phosphorus. However the pond and forebay has shown a positive effect on suspended solids.
- Chloride levels overall were slightly lower than last year. We have been sampling for 5 years and there have been no significant changes within the lakes. Black Lake has the lowest levels. Birch Lake and East Goose are the highest which makes sense due to the proximity to major roads. All of the lakes are below the current State standards. The creek samples are difficult to catch because it has to be done when water is flowing. The sample at the White Bear Lake storm sewer, just above Whitaker Pond, was extremely high compared to last year's sample.
- Overall precipitation wasn't that different from last year. The levels were pretty much the same, except that we got more rain in August this year as compared to 2013.
- E. coli levels showed that the flow in the creek has a correlation to the amount of E. coli in the samples.
If you would like to read more about results from this year's E. coli Source Monitoring please visit the Lambert Creek E. coli Sources project page.