For those of you that have been at the last couple of meetings and caught my updates you know in the last few years Lone Lake has suffered from continued deterioration of its water quality due to increasing levels of toxic algae blooms. In September of 2016 this led to a massive fish kill of between 1000 and 1450 trout many of which were classified trophy rainbow trout. In 2017, from July 13th to Sept 27th, there were 8 times that water samples were taken by the dept. of heath that confirmed that algae containing Antitoxin-a and Microsystem exceeded allowable state levels which then led to the closure of the lake. In the last few years several user groups in the community have elected to relocate their activities to other lakes in the community due to these algae blooms.
The continued deterioration of this resource has implications for our local economy. In the State of Washington there are 24 fly fishing clubs with an estimated total of 2050 members. In any given year it is estimated that Lone Lake experiences over 1000 fishermen days from these organizations. This does not include the additional fishing activity generated by local fishermen from the local fishing clubs on Whidbey Island. The fish kill in 2017 had a significant adverse impact on the use of Lone Lake by off island fishermen as well as general tourism originating from off island user groups such as sailing, swimming and paddling groups that in the past enjoyed this lake.
As a result, the homeowners association of Lone Lake under the direction of Mark Sytsma, Director of the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs, and Professor of Environmental Science and Management, Portland State University applied to the Washington State Dept. of Ecology for a $50,000 grant to research and prepare a “Lone Lake Algae Management Plan”. On Jan 29th I received an email from Lizbeth Seabacher of the Dept. of Ecology notifying me of the status of that grant. Here is the e-mail.
“I can already tell you that the Algae program this fiscal year doesn’t have any funds available, primarily because of accounting, and appropriations. However, our fiscal person had a suggestion of being able to bring some funds out of the KCEL project that were not spent the last FY with an amendment and we are able to partially fund 2 of the projects and fully fund the third but all three with have limited funds for the first year. Lone lake will be fully funded, but the first fiscal year will be limited to $20k. There were tons of applications started this year for this program, but only 3 that actually submitted the application. Probably a good thing, but it’s obvious that we need to try to increase the funding to this program.”
While the limited first-year funding is disappointing, the promise of ultimate full funding is encouraging.
Since I received that e mail I have been having conversations with both Mark Sytsma and Matt Zurich (Whidbey Island Conservation District). This is the email he forwarded to me yesterday (Feb 8,2018) from Lizbeth Seabacher, which lays out the latest on where we stand on the grant funding.
"We are working on an amendment on another large contract to pull funds back out that were not spent so that we can offer at least some funding for this FY of 2019 projects. If all of this makes it through our contracts folks, (it just made it through the King County contracts folks) we will be offering funding. It would be a partial offer as the funds we are able to gain can only partially fund a couple of projects.
The dates for FY2019 do not start until July 1st, 2018."
I will be at the Feb meeting and will be making a presentation on any updates that I get between now and then. In addition, I will outline a plan of action that we can take in lew of the above information.