Algae Levels Continue Upward Trend

The latest graph supplied courtesy of GCCC still shows a continuing trend upward in algae levels. The results are in line with the observations of increasing green scum that is now regularly appearing around the lake.

The Care Group have raised concern over no weekly updates since the 3rd of September with Council advising they are currently reviewing the graph format. The Care Group advised Council that the public should continue be kept regularly informed on the deteriorating  condition of the lake and requested that current graphs continue to be supplied while the format is under review.

Timeline for how long tests will take to determine future action will not be finalised until Mid November and will be presented at the next meeting with Council on the 18th of November.

Photo of Algae now appearing around foreshore.[20/09/19]

 

Latest Water Quality Results – Algae Levels Trending Upwards Already

The latest water quality results have been released and indicate an upward trend in algae concentration despite just coming out of winter! The good news is that toxic levels are still low.

With no action planed until finalisation of tests the question is how long until tests are completed?

The Care group have requested from Council a time line on when the tests are due for completion and most importantly, when is action planned.

Graph Courtesy GCCC

Phoslock Trial and Future Management Options Report

The Griffith Uni Phoslock Trial and Management Options were presented and reviewed at a meeting with Council last week.

See Care Group Summary of report and concerns.

See full report –Griffith Phoslock Trial and Evaluation of Management Option Report 

Key Points.

Phoslock Trial – little evidence of a reduction in phosphorus levels in system. The duration of the bloom reduced from 9 months to 6 months, but impossible to conclude whether this change was a response to Phoslock.

Management Options- Trial of sand capping of bottom, monitoring effectiveness, then followed up by Phoslock treatment proposed to reduce algal blooms.

No implementation in the near future until further testing to confirm the suitability of the proposed treatment.

Report indicates removal of Reed Beds would not reduce water quality.

Care Group Concerns.

NO clear timeline provided on completion of testing and implementation of Plan.

Proposed action has no effect on the serious stratification issues affecting the lake.

No action on reversing significant loss of underwater aquatic vegetation that is necessary for lake recovery.

Proposed Removal of Reed Beds would have a detrimental effect on wildlife that is already suffering under the poor condition of the lake.

 

 

Lake Finally Open After 6 Months of Closure

After 6 months of algal blooms, levels have finally declined enough to allow swimming. Clearly this lake is in critical condition. Urgent action is required to improve the situation. Despite repeated requests to Council for action, no plan is in place. In other words COUNCIL HAVE  NO PLANS TO FIX THE LAKE!

We will be meeting with Council in 2 weeks time to review the Phoslock trial and again raise the issue of inaction.

Latest Algae Graph Courtesy of GCCC below;

Lake Now Into 5th Month of Closure!

It has now been 5 long months that LHM has been unavailable to the public due to ongoing Algae blooms. The lake closed in mid January in the peak of the swimming season despite the application of Phoslock. While the levels are reducing, algal scum is still present along foreshore areas representing a continuing health hazard.

As we head into our 4th year of unprecedented consecutive closures, time is running out to implement effective treatment to prevent another algae outbreak and prevent even further damage to a lake that is in critically poor condition.

Unbelievably there is still NO plan.

Latest Graph Courtesy of GCCC.

 

Care Group Meeting With Council

THE LHM Care Group requested a meeting with Council to discuss ongoing issues with LHM and to get a update on progress. The meeting was held last week with the following key points:

  • LHMCG has accepted NEW terms of reference and will now attend the stakeholder group and as such will receive further updates and results through this group.
  • Another Griffith Report updated with Phoslock Trial Results released soon.
  • Next stakeholder group meeting is August 5th where Griffith will present their findings of their report in more readable format.
  • Methodologies and proposed aerator solutions will be forwarded to Griffith and analysed for their feasibility and discussed in stakeholder meeting in August.
  • Phoslock results and analysis will be a main focus of Griffith’s new report.
  • Aerators were not presented as a solution in Griffith’s report. Issues with implementing aerators when algae is not controlled.
  • Key Griffith recommendation Hydrogen Peroxide not Approved.
  • Disagreement over the impact of salt water on the lake from canal. Whether it is beneficial or harmful to lake overall.
  • Disagreement over value of lake. Council view as borrow pit for storm water, Care Group views as unique valuable community asset.

Please review full Meeting notes below;

Meeting Notes 31/05/19.

Lake Users Continue to Risk Health

Despite the lake being closed, users continue to risk their health by ignoring Council warnings. Large numbers participating in triathlon training regularly use the lake weekly as seen by the recent photo. The continued use highlights the lack of suitable training venues for triathlons. It also highlights the importance of Lake Hugh Muntz to the local community and the urgent need for a plan to return the lake to primary “swimming” contact.

Latest Water Quality Update

The latest water quality results have been released with the updated graph below. After nearly 3 months of closure and the continuing cooler weather, there is still no clear downward trend and no sign of the lake opening in the near future!

Is Salt Water Killing Lake Hugh Muntz?

The Care Group have requested Council to investigate the loss of all underwater aquatic plants from the shoreline about 1 year ago. Why?

THERE CAN BE NO LAKE RECOVERY WITHOUT AQUATIC VEGETATION!

In 2013,  a similar loss of all aquatic plants raised concern over the deteriorating condition of the lake. Council was then asked to investigate with no advice received on what was causing the problem.

The aquatic vegetation slowly returned but struggled to grow until the recent loss. It is no coincidence the decline in vegetation is an important factor in the decline in water quality. If Council are serious about turning around the decline, they have to include aquatic plant recovery in any plan.

 

Ongoing Concern Over Terms and Conditions

Please see response from Paul Taylor and our reply below;

Care Group Reply.

Hi Paul,

Thank your for your email. In response to your statement highlighted red in your reply;

  • Our records show WE NEVER RECEIVED AN AGENDA! Could you please confirm this is correct.
  • In an email the Care Group received it stated “please review the Terms of Reference for the LHMSG (attached) and please respond confirming your acceptance stating your groups representative by return email by 6th March 2019.

Clearly there was no opportunity to seek clarification at the meeting as a condition of attending the meeting was to accept the terms!

The Care Group would like to request a meeting with Council to clarify terms.

As we have not met with Council since June 2018, it would be a great opportunity to get some updates on lake issues including;

Progress on Phoslock Trial.

Progress on field trials of Hydrogen Peroxide.

Update on our request for investigation on loss of all aquatic plants along shoreline.

Lake Health Water Quality Updates. We have no updates since March Last year!

 

Paul Taylors Response.

Thank you for your email in regard to the Lake Hugh Muntz Stakeholder Group (LHMSG) and in particular the concerns you raised about the associated Terms of Reference.

Let me say from the outset there has never been any intention to supplant or sideline your Care Group which performs an important and valuable role in the community.

Rather, this new stakeholder group was created as a collaborative forum involving the City, the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group, known user groups and external research bodies to facilitate an open and transparent exchange of information between these groups.

Additionally, it was envisaged the LHMSG initiative would provide an opportunity for a number of community groups interested in Lake Hugh Muntz to learn more about the characteristics of the lake and the way the lake responds to varying environmental conditions.

Given the proposal was to conduct meetings biannually, ongoing management updates from the City in relation to work or initiatives completed in the past six months and any relevant proposed works and initiatives to be undertaken in the coming six months would also be discussed.

In instances where stakeholder groups are established, the usual course of action is for a Terms of Reference (TOR) document to be prepared by the City. TORs provide guidance and working arrangements around agreed roles and functions of all parties involved.

One of the aims of the TOR was to ensure any proposed outgoing key messages relating to the LHMSG were accurate, taking into consideration the overall discussion undertaken at stakeholder level. As all stakeholders contribute during the meeting, this was to ensure any messaging reflected discussions or proposed actions minuted at the meeting.

As you’re aware, a copy of the TOR was distributed to all LHMSG representatives affording sufficient time for the document to be considered prior to discussion at the first meeting held earlier this week. The TOR was one of the items listed on the meeting agenda enabling all representatives in attendance to provide comment or seek clarification on any sections of the TOR. In light of the concerns raised by the Care Group, the TOR will be listed for further discussion at the next LHMSG meeting.

In addition to the above, I understand City officers have been in regular contact with you with a view to encouraging the group’s involvement in this initiative which has been designed to provide an overall benefit for the future management of the lake.

From feedback provided by stakeholder groups in attendance, the first LHMSG meeting was very well received.

Taking the above into consideration, it was unfortunate the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group was not represented at the meeting. I am hopeful the Group’s previous decision will be reconsidered and look forward to your attendance at future meetings.

If you have any further enquiries in this regard, Steven McVeigh (5667 3893) the City’s Senior Environmental Engineer Lakes and Waterways, would be happy to assist