SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Lake Association met for a productive morning discussion at the Syracuse Community Center on Saturday, Aug. 1.Beginning at 8 a.m., Karla McCLain and Bill Trame greeted guests at the door and welcomed them in for a warm breakfast and coffee. As Syracuse residents mingled and ate, the room quickly began to fill. Presentations began at 8:40 a.m.
Becky Fox, SLA President, began the morning by reminding guests that the recent idle speed restrictions were all dependent on the amount of people complaining of water problems within the home. Fox explained the process the Department of Natural Resources uses to enact those laws. She also thanked the younger members of the association for stepping up to take responsibility, and reminded members of the importance of passing on duties to younger generations.
After the short introduction by Fox, Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Director Megan McClellan provided updates on the trails projects around the area. She noted that the five-mile stretch of trails around Syracuse Lake had been successfully completed, and thanked the SLA for their continued support, adding “it’s complete, it’s fantastic, and it gets used all the time.”
McClellan reminded homeowners to help keep the trails clean and intact by sweeping off the portion in front of homes and by avoiding parking on the path to prevent cracking. The Syracuse-Wawasee Trails has also purchased a sweeper that attaches to the John Deer Gator to speed up the cleaning process.
The next large project in the works for the trails group is adding a wooden boardwalk to the Conklin Bay area. “We’re going to put in a boardwalk across the section of Conklin Bay to get people off of (State Road) 13 and into the wetlands,” added McClellan.
Following McClellan’s updates, Dr. Nate Bosch, Director for the Center for Lakes & Streams, took the microphone to address lake health issues with the Syracuse residents.
Bosch thanked the SLA for the continued support for community programs, especially those that educate young students on the importance of lakes and streams in the local area. Bosch noted that over 4,900 students went through the K12 program designed by the Center for Lakes & Streams, allowing children of various ages to use hands-on science to look at the lakes and streams around their community.
Bosch addressed the recent Syracuse and Wawasee lake study, which found a problem of excess nutrients to be the source of several problems. Bosch noted these nutrients could be caused by fertilizers from fields, excess human and animal waste or yard waste like grass clippings that have entered the lakes.
Bosch added that the Center for Lakes & Streams is currently testing for the presence 57 different chemicals in Lake Wawasee to see if there are any lasting effects of the July 11 chemical spill at Bayshore Channel.
For more information on the Syracuse-Wawasee Trails, visit their website at www.syracusewawaseetrails.com. For more information on the Center for Lakes & Streams, visit lakes.grace.edu.
In other business:
Bosch added information from a recent economic impact study, noting Syracuse Lake brings in $1.3 million each year in property taxes and is responsible for $190 million in property values. Seventy-three percent of the property value is attributed to secondary home ownership.
The Center for Lakes & Streams is currently monitoring blue green algae levels at 58 testing sites in Kosciusko County.
There are 26 types of algae present in Syracuse Lake, 5 of which produce toxins.