Sunday, March 26, 2023

Improving the Water Quality in Oakdale Lake

Last year, Friends of Oakdale Lake presented the findings of a two-year water quality assessment project that had been carried out by the ecological consulting firm Great Ecology.  The report, which can be found here, identified phosphorus, which is contributing to the growth of unwanted vegetation in the lake, as a major problem for water quality and recommended three short-term actions, to be implemented within the next year. Two of those actions--harvesting submerged vegetation and air diffuser aeration--have already been carried out. The implementation of the third--barley straw application--began today.

Today, David Yozzo, chief ecologist for Great Ecology; Cate Collinson, project director; and Tamar Adler, director of Friends of Oakdale Lake, suspended the first nine bags of barley straw in a small project area of Oakdale Lake. The bags were placed as a trial run. The remaining 30 pounds of barley straw will be suspended in the lake by a group of Hudson High School students on April 18, assisted by ecologists from Great Ecology and members of Friends of Oakdale Lake.

The barley straw is packed into red plastic onion bags, which will be collected and reused. The bags are then suspended by durable rope and held in position with mushroom anchors. Friends of Oakdale Lake wants the public to understand that the bags are not garbage. They are a planned and agreed-upon ecological intervention. The expectation is that, over the course of several months, the barley straw will inhibit the growth of algae in the lake. If the project is successful, it offers a chemical-free, low-cost way to decrease unwanted vegetation in the lake without interfering with summertime recreation.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that could be done would be to reduce the fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and who knows what else draining into the lake. Why not ban or restrict the use of lawn and garden fertilizers and chemicals in the properties that run off into the lake? It is also healthier and more pleasant to have a yard with diverse species of plants than a monoculture grass lawn.