Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes and Streams at Grace College, gave the annual presentation on Lake Wawasee Saturday evening, June 21.
Accompanying him from Grace College were Vice President for Advancement Drew Flamm, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Mark Norris. Other officials from the center were Amy Bloemendaal, administrative assistant; Anna Burke, program manager and Seth Bingham, one of six summer interns.
The mission of the Center for Lakes and Streams is to keep each lake in the county clean, safe, beautiful and healthy. In Bosch’s speech, he detailed a three-prong approach to achieve those goals, including education, collaboration and research.
By educating the community about keeping the lakes clean, the center strives to inspire future generations to carry on with what has begun. A recent K-12 program took elementary school students to the lake with fishing poles to learn about the different types of local fish. The center also seeks to enlighten farmers, business owners and many others on how their daily practices can influence Lake Wawasee.
Collaboration with other organizations help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resources by cutting down on duplicate efforts. A project they are working on together with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, is an effort to target problem areas where phosphorus enters the lake. They also applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with Purdue University to look at how different agricultural techniques affect phosphorus levels in the streams.
Their extensive research within the past year on the Wawasee Stream Study has allowed them to see how much phosphorus is actually coming into the lake from the four major surrounding streams and creeks.
In 2013, 700 pounds of phosphorus entered Lake Wawasee, according to Bosch, which is approximately the same as if 1,600 geese sat on the lake all year long. This much phosphorus can create 600,000 pounds of algae and 2.5 million pounds of weeds, which creates an unhealthy environment.
During this past year, Bosch and his team tested the streams every 2 weeks to determine which season produces the most phosphorus, so they can see when preventative measures need to be taken during the next year.
Another research proposal has been submitted to the DNR to look at how boat traffic and other lake activity affects the sediments at the bottom of the lake. More funding will be needed to make this project a reality.
In order to get this information to the community, the center works to make it accessible and easy to understand. They send out press releases, give presentations that include maps and other graphics, write executive summaries and post to their website at lakes.grace.edu/.
“It’s a beautiful lake. It can be cleaner, it can be more beautiful, safer, healthier, but Lake Wawasee is one of the best in the county, and one of the best in the United States,” Bosch concluded his presentation.