Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lake Roberta Scum

I drove by Lake Roberta today and noticed all of the water hyacinth (I think) and scum Carpeting the Lake.

I wonder couldn't we get some sort of cheap mechanical harvester to periodically grab off some of the hyacinth?

Couldn't we look to see if there is some old spring in the area we could direct to the lake and add more water flow?

Couldn't we get some large air pump to add oxyge nto the water?


Shawn-non-anonymous said...

Old Seminole Heights has a Lake Roberta committee that is actively pursuing a lake cleanup. The lake falls under at least three various city/county agencies depending on if you're talking the green strip around it, the surface or the ability to retain water. It's as much a organizational mess as the the pond scum inside the lake.

However, all of that has been mostly worked through and various improvements have already begun. A storm runoff system was installed earlier this year that separates trash and dirt from the water comming of Nebraska Avenue. There is already a noticeable improvement in water quality as a result. (and clear water transmits more light so this might explain some of the plant growth.) Another device is being installed where Idlewild pours into the lake soon. You'll notice some construction paint and signs there this week. In addition, some storm drains will be placed up Idlewild (when, I'm not sure) to collect gutter water that currently floods neighbors yards, garages, and houses. (yikes!)

In addition, the lake is on a list for de-mucking using a process common in Orlando. I believe it is funded and waiting for the usual beaurocratic tango to end. The lake will be deeper when the de-mucking is done and that will retard some of the plant growth, keep the water cooler for wildlife, and generally make the lake closer to what it used to be.

As for springs... The rumor is there was one feeding Lake Roberta. Lake Roberta is a natural lake, not man made. The city tried to find it with a backhoe in 2000 when the lake dried up and the fish rotted in the sun. They had no luck.

Add to this strong resistance to some of the neighbors leaving across the street from the lake who oppose anything OSHNA wants to do that would make the lake more friendly to human use. They gone as far as tearing down "clean up after your dog" signs and such and make promises to destroy any improvements like benches or trash recepticals.

Now that our aligator has mysteriously died, we can also anticipate more bull frogs and ducks and all the nasty problems overpopulation of those species will bring--including more "fertilizer" in the lake and the resulting plant blooms.

Anyhow, as bad as it looks, things are in the works that will fix it rather than bandaid it. Patience with the process and with some of the naysayers is all that is needed.

Shawn-non-anonymous said...

er... "living across the street" rather than "leaving". Not sure the Freud would say about that but please try not to ready anything into it.

Jeff Harmon said...

The aquatic weeds that you see are of mainly two types: hydrilla, which looks like green cat tails, and southern naiad, which is stringy and branched. Those two are not native species and were introduced into Florida from foreign lands via aquariums. Today, they are a problem all over Florida so that our particular infestation could have come from someone disposing of their fish in the lake or from a fisherman who dumped excess catch (along with little plant particles in the bucket).

The Lilies are called Spaterdock and are native to Florida. There is some debate on them as they do help keep the water cool and provide cover for fish and perching spots for birds.

There are plenty of other speices, including pennywort, which looks like little clover islands.

The abundant level of growth, regardless of the plant, is indicative of high nutrient levels. As the neighborhood has become more affluent, fertilizer use has increased.

As Shawn pointed out, there is a plan in place to clean the lake out and remove some sediment. At that point, we will introduce some plant eating fish who will hopefully control the growth and maintain a healthy balance.