Updates of the three-fold approach by the Center for Lakes & Streams was given by Dr. Nate Bosch, director, during a social event Saturday evening at Lake Wawasee.
Approximately 80 individuals learned about activities of the center in the past year.
Bosch recapped education activities, changing behaviors of the future generations and collaboration efforts with local organizations, such as the Syracuse Lake Association, Wawasee Property Owners Association and Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, with a goal to not duplicate efforts.
A new collaboration effort was announced with Poseidon Lake Maps, Fort Wayne, to create a new depth map of Lake Wawasee. “This is down to inches of being accurate,” Bosch stated.
The map replaces a rendering created in the 1970s by the DNR. The new map shows the deepest point of the lake at 81.3 feet.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the research Bosch and the center are involved in. Research with the National Wildlife Federation and National Science Foundation were noted. The NWF research deals with talking to farmers to get them as allies and working toward water quality. The NSF project is an attempt to forecast how much blue/green algae exists in a given lake during the summer as well as predict the algae toxins they produce to help protect the health of lake users.
“We are doing lake research on the lake itself,” said Bosch. Staff members have been on the lake every week since Memorial Day and will continue through Labor Day. “This past week we noticed the water clarity has decreased over the last three weeks,” he said. Wawasee’s clarity was at 13 feet, it is now at 6 feet. Syracuse Lake was at 19 feet. The past week it was at 9 feet.
“We are looking at different measures,” Bosch stated relating it is speculation on Wawasee, it is due to boat traffic stirring up the sediment. On Syracuse it is due to algae growth. “We have more tests to run to confirm that.”
Due to contributions by the SLA and WPOA new microscope equipment was purchased. Using this equipment, Bosch announced they have been able to identify 30 different types of algae in Wawasee, seven which produce toxins “We are looking at those specific algae types,” he stated. Previously only microcystins was tested. Now the study has expanded to anatoxin-a, BMAA, saxitoxins and cylindrospermospsin. “We’re testing all those. We’ll let you guys know if there is anything to be concerned.”
The event was held in the home of Al Campbell, Vawter Park Road, Syracuse, with co-hosts Dan and Marilyn Berkey, Doug and Barb Grant, Gordy and Marie Moore and Mark and Betsy Campbell Phillips.
Campbell provided a historical reference to the site where the event was being held — a site where the Pottawatomi Club meet the late 1800s with Col Eli Lilly, JP Morgan, Augustus Bush and others.