What is lurking in Lake Titloe? There may be an answer to that question next week. Geologists from Minnesota State University-Mankato (MSU) will provide their Lake Titloe test results in a meeting at the library on Thursday, February 26th.
According to Jim Swanson of the Lake Titloe Committee, MSU geologist Bryce Hoppie will report on the test results. The committee will also hear about the progress of a watershed cleanup plan and learn about grant opportunities, Swanson explained.
For the past two summers, MSU geologists and students have been conducting tests on the lake in an attempt to determine why the water quality is poor in Lake Titloe.
Cleanup efforts got a boost last summer when the City received $475,000 in State bonding money to be used for improving the water quality in the lake.
The City used $300,000 of this money to reroute storm water lines that had been emptying into the lake. Those lines are now emptying into the stormwater pond on the east side of Gaylord. The remaining $175,000 of the State bonding money is marked for studying, planning and producing design solutions to improve the water in the lake.
The Lake Titloe committee’s study proposal, accepted by the City Council in the fall of 2008, is expected to cost $168,590.
According to City Administrator Kevin McCann, there are two parts to the study proposal. The first part is expected to cost $90,590 and involves more water testing by Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). Part two involves Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) developing a plan to improve the water in the lake. The total cost for SEH’s work is estimated at $78,000.
Bryce Hoppie, a hydrology specialist from MSU, spoke to City Council members last fall. A grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has funded studying on the lake in 2008, according to Hoppie. He said MSU students have gathered water samples from Lake Titloe eleven times during the 2008 season. This group is also studying the water coming into and leaving the lake, Hoppie explained.
Although official results require a full year of testing, initial studies indicate this is a low water quality lake, according to Hoppie. Studies show high algae early in the season. Hoppie said the water quality improves in late spring but then the algae kicks in again in July.
SEH will collect and assemble the data from MSU. Water specialists will create a computer model of the watershed which is approximately 38,000 acres, according to Justin Black of SEH. An implementation plan to improve the water entering the lake will then be developed, Black explained.
SEH will also prepare a final project report and submit it to the MPCA. This could “catapult” the lake onto the State’s impaired waters list, according to Black. If that was the case, there would be more funding opportunities to continue cleanup efforts, he explained.