Find out just how clean is Lake Wallenpaupack, what is being done and how the public can help, at the “State of The Lake” report, Wednesday, October 18. The presentation, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be at Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center.

PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - Find out just how clean is Lake Wallenpaupack, what is being done and how the public can help, at the “State of The Lake” report, Wednesday, October 18. The presentation, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be at Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center.

This is the public’s opportunity to meet those entrusted to monitoring the ecological health of the lake, called the “Gem of the Poconos” and a treasured asset to residents and visitors alike. Questions may be asked of the presenter, Edward Molesky, Aqua Link Inc., as well as the administrator of Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District (LWWMD), the non-profit organization of stakeholders sharing interest in keeping the lake clean of pollutants.

The LWWMD board of directors discussed the event at there monthly meeting, Sept. 20. The October presentation in the auditorium will immediately follow their board meeting.

Aqua Link is under contract by LWWMD to take water samples at various times in the year, analyze them for conditions at the time of the sampling, look for trends and make recommendations. Results of studies for 2016 will be presented October 18.

Although conducted annually at various times, the “State of the Lake” has never been a “major draw” in public attendance, Administrator Nick Spinelli told the board. The summer is busy for people, and although they discussed having it on a weekend, a meeting may seem less likely to attract weekend visitors who come to the lake to enjoy the outdoors.
One suggestion was in the future, to make this a “virtual presentation” online, but that lacks the personal touch and good public relations a face to face meeting can have.

Another idea was in the future, to consider splitting the meeting time with a representative from PA Fish & Boat Commission, who would be asked to give a “State of the Lake” report about fishing in Lake Wallenpaupack.

In recent years, lake quality has been shown to be steadily improving, which has been hailed as a testament to the aggressive care given by the public and the Watershed District, considering the growing human presence around and on the lake. The District was organized in 1979 to address a serious degradation of the water quality that existed at that time.

Much of the cause of lake pollution stems from excess nutrients entering the water, whether from sewer or septic systems, eroding stream banks and shore lines, farming activities in the watershed, household use of phosphates, and uncontrolled stormwater washing off paved surfaces. Algae blooms are one consequence.

Spinelli reported at the September meeting that an algae bloom has been spotted in the lake, where wind and waves buffet the coves. He said this is not all that unusual. Three years ago, he said, there was a minor algae bloom in December.

Ride for the Lake

The sixth annual Ride for the Lake was the best attended told date. Held on the Saturday of Wally Lake Fest in late August, this year 148 people, aboard 105 motorcycles, took a ride around Lake Wallenpaupack. Last year, 2016, was second, with 128 riders and 88 bikes.

Spinelli reported that the next profit after expenses was $6,040.98, down from 2016 which holds the record at $6,438. He said that a couple business sponsors, at the $250 level, dropped out in 2017.

He added, however, that raising $6,000 for a half day event was good, observing that some other fundraising events take in far less, with more manpower and time involved. “Kudos to Brian,” Spinelli added. Brian Schan, LWWMD board member and an avid biker, initiated Ride for the Lake. In seven years the event has taken in $32,179 which goes towards LWWMD’s budget supporting their environmental mission.

This year’s total income was $9,198.98; total expenses were $3,158.00.

Also discussed:

Originally meant as a spring mailing, the annual appeal letter went out August 16. This year a broader scope of residents were included, further from the shore line. As of September 15, $12,868 had come in, with some donations yet to have bene deposited. There was also about $1,000 that have been contributed through PayPal. Spinelli said that it appeared the fund drive was a little ahead of last year. It was also encouraging to see several private donations of $1,000, he said, something they had not seen in about five years.

Board member Alex Zidock said that it may be the approach to take, to expand the appeal base. Sending the letter right after the summer season may also be a good thing, said Tom Mueller, of the board. He commented that people may feel appreciative of the lake and want to give towards its upkeep, after having enjoyed a nice summer here.

The annual Fish Habitat project has been postponed to 2018. Fish habitat structures will be lowered into the lake to encourage spawning. The tentative site is Martin’s Cove. For 2018, the annual Cost-Share Program will have some minor changes. There will be a separate category for agricultural applicants, issuing PA Department of Agriculture’s definition for what constitutes an agricultural activity. The Cost Share Program provides grants for property owners wishing to take preventative or corrective action to limit pollution in the streams leading to the lake, and the lake itself. A 50% match is required. The grant comes from funds set aside by the power company for lake ecology, as determined by the federal re-licensing agreement in 2005.

The LWWMD office may be contacted at 570-226-3865. Visit online at www.wallenpaupackwatershed.org and on Facebook.