Marie Noplos/Daily Journal: The lowering of Lake Alice has prompted the growth of cattails and other plants along the shoreline.

Archived Story

Alice needs 2 years

Published 10:49am Wednesday, August 22, 2012 Updated 10:52am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lake Alice residents and visitors could be two years out on a return to normalcy for the lake and the area around it. That’s what city staff reported at the Monday city council meeting after a question about lake conditions by mayoral candidate John Strauch.

Strauch asked about an expected timeline for completion of road work, water quality work and the raising of the water level at the lake. He also said the lake had appearance and upkeep issues and suggested that Sentencing to Serve inmates might be used to help clear away some unwanted elements.

“I noticed there (are) cattails and a lot of things that have grown up really high,” he said. “It kind of gives a bad look for our city, I feel like.”

City Engineer Dan Edwards said that a timeline on raising the lake (and finishing the roadwork) can’t really be put in place until Interstate Engineering finishes its water quality study at the area. The council then will be presented with available options for improving the lake’s dirty water.

“Without knowing what those options are, at this time we can’t really schedule when the road construction can go forward because we don’t really have a design yet,” he said.

Once the designs are in place, the city would also need to hold public meetings and likely find funding sources for water improvements.

“At the earliest, we’re probably looking at two years down the line,” he said.

He noted that the city has received several calls about cattails and other appearance issues at the lake and said staff is trying to work with the contractors working in the area to get those cleared up, “so far not very satisfactorily.”

Though he didn’t give a date, Edwards and Public Works Director Anne Martens noted that staff is planning a Lake Alice information meeting in the near future. At that time, the city would be able to present more in-depth information about the lake and the current process in figuring out how to improve it. The city would also discuss the possibility of reinstating the ice rink at Lake Alice.

  • Robi

    Cattails are sometimes thought of as a nuisance along lake margins. However, they and other shoreline plants can perform important functions that help keep a lake healthy. One such benefit is they filter runoff as it flows into the lake. This helps reduce nutrients as well as mud which enter lakes from surrounding land. They also help prevent shoreline erosion from waves created by wind or boats. A healthy plant community along the shoreline can work wonders in keeping lakefront property intact. In addition, cattails provide important habitat for many species of wildlife and birds. Redwing blackbirds and many ducks and geese nest in them, and some animals such as muskrats, eat them. Even upland songbirds will use fluff from the flowers to line their nests.

  • misspriss

    It seems we had extensive studies and meetings before this project began.What has happened since, to change the results of the initial studies? The cattails are at least discouraging the geese a bit.The bread wrappers, pop bottles,Dorito bags,and dog droppings are an ongoing issue.It seems Interstate Engineering and the city has bit off way more than they can chew on this one…

  • Frizzel

    So people don’t want a green, stinky lake? Quite fertilizing your stupid lawns and LEAVE the cattails in place. Rob has it right. These plants serve a great service as a filter for the lake. Also they can serve as protection for many waterfowl that are nesting.

  • Keithsart

    I agree with so many others. Quit fertilizing your lawns with all that nitrogen and phosphorous. Its ruining the lake when the run-off from your lawn gets into the lake water.

    If I had a dollar for every time somebody blamed the geese and ducks…!

  • concerned

    considering the cost of fixing the problems created by these fertilizers are being picked up by the entire community, would it be out of place to pass an ordnance against the use of such fertilizers, especially in the vicinity of the lake?

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