Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Jan. 1, 2001

Howard Lake's water quality better than previously thought

By Lynda Jensen

The condition of the water in Howard Lake is better than previously thought, said John Swanson, president of the Lake Association for Howard Lake.

Testing done during the summer with a Secchi disc found the clarity to be as good as 11 feet, Swanson said.

A Secchi disc is an eight-inch white disc lowered in the lake to determine water clarity.

The disc is lowered in six-inch increments until it can't be seen any longer, Swanson said.

The clarity is gauged upon the moment the disc is seen disappearing and reappearing, he said.

The disc was lowered 11 times through July and August in Howard Lake.

Other disc readings over the summer were less favorable, at one point reading three feet, probably because of algae bloom, Swanson said.

The lake received fairly poor reviews last year and suffers from excessive algae bloom, Swanson said.

"Things are not as bad as they seem," Swanson said in his report.

No Eurasian watermilfoil was found in Howard Lake, Swanson said.

There is a undesirable weed called P. crispus in the lake, which can be seen blooming in large mats during June, although warmer temperatures kill it, he said.

The association is looking at a number of different options to improve the water quality, some of which have already come to fruition, Swanson said.

The city used to dump its snow piles next to the public access on the southeastern portion of the lake, but now this snow is being dumped at the Wright County fairgrounds.

A weed buffer would be a good idea to help filter out pollution and undesirable nutrients, Swanson said.

The association is looking to gain strength in numbers, gathering both lakeside dwellers and non-lakeside dwellers who care about the lake.

"Anyone who uses the lake," is welcome to join the association, Swanson said.

Those interested in joining may call Don Danford, the lake association secretary, at (320) 543-2615.

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