SYRACUSE — Having just returned from an 8,000 mile road trip with his family, Dr. Nate Bosch used traveling analogy in a presentation on the current location of the the lake and the future travels.
Bosch, director of the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College, presented information on the center’s study of the two lakes at a social gathering at the home of George and Peggy Rapp, Waco Drive, Syracuse. Approximately 120 people intently listened to the presentation, leaving the evening with up to date information and an idea of the road map for future studies.
“Wawasee and Syracuse are good, but not as good as they could be,” said Bosch. He touched on the study of blue green algae where Wawasee has the lowest average population of blue green algae, but among the highest average toxin concentration. “Its a perplexing issue we’re tying to figure out,” he said, adding Syracuse Lake also has an elevated toxin concentration.
He relayed recent figures regarding water clarity and water temperatures and the current status. Because Wawasee has been studied for over 100 years, Bosch and the center staff have looked at data regarding oxygen concentrations and clarity. “The trend is we’re going in the wrong direction. So we need a new approach.”
“Our future the next 5-10 years will be guiding research that helps lead us to strategic action, deepening education that leads us to greater impact and strengthening collaboration that leads to better effectiveness when working together,” said Bosch about the new route being planned.
Each of these areas were briefly detailed by Bosch before he turned the presentation over to his favorite part – answering questions.
Bosch noted means to study the high nutrient levels in the lakes – the installation of a sensor where Turkey Creek flows into Lake Wawasee, a boating study and wave action study. While it may take several years, this information will provided necessary data to create a nutrient budget and provide a strategic way to reduce or solve the problem. The zebra mussel study was also mentioned and its relation to blue green algae and the toxins it causes.
He gave a glimpse into the new Lilly Center, to open this fall. The new science facility will be able to analyze algae toxins and give results within 48 hours instead of a month. He spoke of an agriculture certification program to recognize farmers who are doing good things for the lake.
Educational programs were noted along with the new learning opportunities available at the facility. Among these opportunities will be a virtual aquarium – the only one in the world; a sand table with virtual water; a mud room with 80 waders for exploration of wetlands on campus by visitors; and 85 real aquariums to learn about fish that call area lakes home.
He concluded with how the general public could become involved by noting the three financial investment options to ensure continued research. He referred to this as putting gas in the tank to get going. It was noted that 100 percent of any gift to the center stays at the center. Those establishing endowments and legacy gifts also have the ability to determine how those funds are used.
Bosch also noted “We put a lot more effort on lakes that receive homeowner support. Lake Wawasee is more thoroughly studied and we work more on Lake Wawasee than other lakes.” This, he stressed is due to the support from Syracuse and Wawasee homeowners.”
The evening was co-hosted by Rapps, Mike and Rebecca Kubacki, Mike and Pat Miller, Doug and Barb Grant, Randall and Debra Tobias, Becky Fox and John Ashman.