Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lake Roberta

I went to the meeting last night and didn't learn a whole lot. Learn more about Lake Roberta by clicking on this site.


Shawn-non-anonymous said...

There was a LOT to learn at that meeting. :-) But it's all politics and very little about the lake itself.

The bottom line is the various agencies that control the lake and provided funding seem to have underfunded the cleanup. As a result, the lake will not be dredged. They spent a lot of time making their current plans sound bigger than they are, which I think frustrated some people. They are going to do two major things:

1) install flood control and silt/trash control on Idlewild draining into the lake. There are several homes on Idlewild that flood when it rains due to poor street design/maintenance.

2) plant pretty plants.

The depth, volume, and shape of the lake will remain the same.

George said...

Well, I politely beg to differ, unless you define anything requiring city or state involvement as politics. I see the issue being more about available funding, permit and budget timelines and the cooperation of two large organizations that may move a bit slow, but are certainly moving in the right direction. If you didn’t attend the meeting, just so you know, there was a group of consultants which made it funny to hear the neighbors arguing about a broken lake. Good job Tampa and SWIFTMUD for bringing them along. Of course, opinions differ and I’m pretty sure we can find somebody who thinks hydrilla is pretty and lilies should never be touched. Thankfully, people dealt with cattails before someone concluded they too deserved a place in the lake for their pretty brown fuzz. Ever wonder where these plants came from in the first place?

As a community perhaps we need to get past the, this is what “I” think should be done attitude and start listening to those who know how to fix waterbodies. Our focus should be on getting the funding required to execute their strategies. I like minnows, you like pinfish, experts say bluegills – seems like a simple decision to me. If they did want to dredge that might have started an actual riot given the debates over benches, islands, bums, shorelines, etc.

Know the city built the green grate which Steve helped get done. Kathy Steele incorrectly references in her article Russian carp, which are most often served pickled. Nonetheless, I suppose Russia is close enough, right planet and correct hemisphere. Not only did the city build the grate, rebuild the outflow and move a lot of stones to slow the washout off of Nebraska, they again replaced it when it was … vandalized or modified by a well intentioned, yet misguided resident. A newspaper article with incorrect facts, imagine that.

For the truly curious here’s an addy to info on carp (hydrilla munching, not pickled).

To my knowledge even the process of monitoring the lake has become dysfunctional, probably due to lack of a volunteer(s) perhaps.

Lake Roberta does have a private trash collection service and thank goodness he volunteers. Proving the storm scepter doesn’t stop all trash is interesting. It was never designed for that objective. The new project doesn’t propose to put another one of those in on the east side, it’s a different model that should stop more trash and requires potentially more maintenance on behalf of Tampa. Who say’s they never listen? Seems like a good effort to me since some folks are more concerned about trash rather than water quality.

If you have no clue what all the chatter about this unit and trash is about, here’s a link to the gizmo.

To me, it appears designed to mainly collect oil and soil stuff, as well as trash. I would think keeping sediment and oil out of the lake is good, even if some trash gets through. Want to get rid of all the trash? Figure out where the debris blowing down the street originates from. Go look at Idlewild near Publix – people toss tons of stuff that blows around until rain washes it to the low spot – the lake. There is often more trash in the parking lot of that Dollar Store thing than any commercial business I’ve ever seen. Where’s that end up? Let’s guess – the river or our lake, or maybe the street sweeper that comes every 6 weeks – (not sure I agree with that one, 6 weeks?). And btw – Publix is generally meticulously clean.

We knew all along the separator thing has a bypass because the runoff from Nebraska can overflow it – so I view it as being there to help, not solve everything. The city accumulates data on cleaning this thing and it is working as intended to reduce the inflow of sediment. So, I agree with Shawn that there was quite a bit to learn at the meeting.

What I heard, in no particular order of importance, was:

They plan to install a different type trap for silt and trash that has a higher trash removal rate tied into a storm sewer system along a portion of Idlewild. Idlewild in fact has a much higher runoff rate than Clifton.

Regrade the lake near the Nebraska inflow to stop the erosion of water immediately flowing to the outflow, as well as providing time for the water to circulate to the east side of the lake.

Create a shelf in an attempt to sustain nitrogen reducing plants.

Clean the lake of the current invasive weeds.

They reminded us keeping the lake clean requires ongoing (annual) maintenance – specifically weed removal.

Agreed to do a muck test to determine if the silt is hazardous and determine the cost to deal with the muck in the event they can dredge in the future.

SWIFTMUD mentioned that they would support a recommendation of dredging if funding were to become available.

They would seek to determine if the elusive spring that was capped off exists or is just wishful fantasy.

I probably missed some other things but heck, my memory is failing. I think it’s great that they are addressing a few of these issues and suppose I am deluding myself into thinking future funding may well become available to dredge the whole shebang. It’s a fantastic start in my book and who cares if it takes 5 years to make the lake 33% better. That would be progress compared to zip, which is what we as a community are basically doing without their assistance. In fact, it gets worse with the passage of time. Well, other than happy Santa I mean, he got some new lights. I have never seen any person, or group say geez, we have $230,000 to spare so let’s help the lake out. Thusly, I am appreciative. I suppose it’s normal given change some percentage of people oppose it, and you can’t do exactly what makes everybody happy. I’m pleased Steve Seacrist and SWIFTMUD don’t throw their arms up and stomp off. They could do nothing for us and spend their money elsewhere. I welcome their involvement and thank the one person who constantly keeps the lake clean by actually doing something - picking up trash.