Water Quality Concerns

It has been a busy summer for our water monitoring and water research teams.  Once again kudo’s to Nancy, Rob, Bob, Jill, Patricia, and everyone else helping with our volunteer efforts.  A great many hours have been spent out gathering water samples from our tributaries, lake surface locations, lake depths, and outlet streams then analyzing all the samples in the labs.

Our water samples have tested satisfactory for most of the year so far, however our nutrient levels remain far too high (too much phosphorus).  We have seen the good indicators dropping and the concerning indicators rising consistently as anticipated/predicted over the summer.  Our testing yesterday has found cyanobacteria levels high enough (with multiple cyanobacteria/algae clusters found) that we felt the need to issue this e-mail warning to people that while we are not yet in a full cyanobacteria outbreak caution now needs to be exercised around the lake.

In particular, given the number of dog deaths in other water bodies recently from cyanobacteria we are recommending that area residents keep their dogs out of the lake as the dogs can ingest potential toxins by drinking the water or licking their fur afterwards.  We are also cautioning people not to drink the water or use it for cooking as their are no filters or boiling methods that can remove the neurotoxins from the water.

At this point, our tests are showing the lake is still at safe levels for swimming in open, clear, water however this could change quickly if large paint-like algae slicks or algae blooms that we saw in 2015 appear.

We have seen a number of dead fish in the past week which is unusual for Sunfish Lake though we have not been able to determine the cause of their death.

Please let us know immediately if you see any paint-like algae slicks, dead fish, or anything concerning/unusual around the lake.  We will continue to monitor the lake and let you know any changes or updates.