Community News

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The city has been awarded a state grant to to understand the reason for the large algae blooms at Heart Lake over the past few years.

The state Department of Ecology has awarded $32,000 to study the problem here. While other lakes have similar problems, Jonn Lunsford, Operations & Forestlands Manager for the city, said the problem at Heart Lake is one of the worst in the state. He said, “No one knows why we have this problem.”

Dr. Robin Matthews from Western Washington University’s Huxley College will assist scientists with Herrera Environmental Consultants in collecting and evaluating data. The work will include taking water column and sediment samples, as well as stream inflow samples.

Dr. Matthews and her students also will collect data from over 50 northwest lakes, including Heart Lake, as part of their research.

Herrera has worked with the City since about 2010 studying Heart Lake, originally helping research milfoil.

The study will cost $42,000 with the state grant covering $32,000. The city will cover the balance with interest raised via the Conservation Easement Program in the forest lands, as has been done with past studies.

The grant-funded project requires Anacortes to: develop a Lake Management Plan for Heart Lake; sample the inflows to the lake monthly for approximately 12 months from the five seasonal streams and wetlands that flow into the lake to test the nutrient level entering the waterbody; send these to a lab for analysis; take core samples of the sediment in the lake bottom to better understand historical cyanobacteria blooms; and hire a qualified consultant to collect this data, send it in for analysis and write a report on the findings.

The city will hold three public meetings to inform the public as to what we are doing and consult with stakeholders as we are formulating a plan of action based on our results.

The City Council approved the contract at a meeting earlier this week.

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