Lake Hugh Muntz is now OPEN!

After an incredibly long 9 months LHM is now open. Grab your swimmers and tell your friends to get down and enjoy this fantastic community asset while you can!

We are currently waiting on the release of the Long Term Options report due in September and more importantly what Council intend to implement and will advise when received.

Official statement from Council below;

As a major stakeholder in Lake Hugh Muntz, the City would like to advise you of the following;

Water quality sampling has confirmed that blue-green algae levels at Lake Hugh Muntz (LHM) have returned to acceptable levels in accordance with the National Guidelines.

Weekly water quality testing has confirmed that both the algae and toxin concentrations have declined and are no longer at a level where they pose a risk to public health.

Whilst the algal bloom has declined significantly, the species of algae that has persisted in LHM (Chrysosporum ovalisporum) is known to produce spores.  These spores can often remain dormant in the sediment of a waterbody and become activated when weather conditions become favourable, especially during warmer temperatures.  This may result in another algal bloom in the near future as temperatures increase during summer.

Whilst temporary warning signage has been removed from the lake, please continue to exercise caution and avoid contact with water:

  • where scums or floating debris are visible
  • that looks discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant
  • near stormwater drains
  • for up to three (3) days after heavy rainfall
  • if you have an open wound or infection

Routine water quality sampling will continue at LHM to monitor conditions.  Should conditions change, further advice will be provided.

 

Further information can be found online cityofgoldcoast.com.au/lakehughmuntz

 

Trial of Real Time Water Quality Monitoring

Council are currently testing a real time water quality monitoring system in Lake Hugh Muntz. If the unit can provide regular, consistent data over time, this will be invaluable in not only mapping changes in water quality, but in measuring the effectiveness of possible future solutions implemented.

The unit is currently installed in the West side of the lake which has some serious problems with no oxygen at depth and high nutrient levels. It is important that the unit is not disturbed so please keep clear!

Short Term Option Report Released – No Implementation by Council.

The short term report by Griffith Algae experts has been released and is available to the public on Councils Website  http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/environment/lake-hugh-muntz-13995.html

The summary from the report concludes;

“There is high uncertainty of a positive outcome for many options, time is required for engineering development (e.g., a boat designed to distribute hydrogen peroxide) in some cases and/or permits are required by State and Commonwealth authorities for discharge to the canal”

Council have confirmed, NO implementation regarding the Short Term Options.

With no action planned, a lot is dependent on the Long Term Options Report Due in 2 weeks!

Urgent action is required by Council to implement Long Term Options that are effective and in a timely manner preferably before the next bloom. Permanent damage as has already occurred with the loss of most, possibly all underwater aquatic plants. Any delays are going to increase difficulty, increase time frame and cost of lake restoration.

Without intervention, and with the rapid increase and severity of past algal blooms, the trend is for an even bigger bloom this year. No one can predict the outcome but the question has to be asked  “are we heading for an ecological disaster”

Clearly the lake cannot enter a Third year of algal blooms without Action!

 

Updated Water Quality Results -Trends Pointing to Lake Opening Soon!

After 8 long months of closure finally some positive news!

Toxic levels have decreased below the trigger level for closure but the lake will remain closed until several good water quality samples are received. It is important to not enter the lake until the Lake Closed signs are removed.

The follow graph has been provided Courtesy of GCCC

 

It is also important that you do not enter the water where surface blooms are present. These blooms are the concentration of highly toxic algae gathered over hundreds of meters of surface water by prevailing wind conditions.

Council are in the process of updating water quality trends and other information on the councils website which can be found below;

http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/environment/lake-hugh-muntz-13995.html

242 Days/ 8 Months into Lake Closure! – Residents and Users “Still in the Dark” with No Water Quality Updates

Residents and Users “Still in the Dark” with no Water Quality Updates.

Recently the lake has shown some signs of recovery with improvement in water clarity as we move out of Winter. This has been the normal pattern before the re-growth of algae clouds the water. With the swimming season about to commence, users and user groups want the be kept informed on water quality and the possibility of the lake opening.

Despite requests for open and transparent communication with Council and numerous requests for 3 monthly water quality updates, to date none have been made available or even a timeframe.

The Care Group will again request updates on the last water quality results since  the last update in May.

 

Delays in Short Term Options Report

The LHM Care Group have raised concern with the GCCC over the delay in the Short Term Option Report that was due in June. The report is to look at the feasibility of short term options to improve the resilience of the lake to future algal blooms.

With no water quality updates for nearly 3 months and the algal blooms continuing through winter, residents and users are speculating that the lake may not even open this Spring/Summer!

A great deal of hope is being placed on the possible implementation of these options and timing is critical. Any treatment needs to be in place before the algae starts multiplying in the warmer months.

GCC Council advises the delay is due to the complexities of the lab work, with the Griffith Uni Report being available to Council Shortly.

Council are striving to meet the action plan timeline and are prioritising finding a solution to the current state of the algal bloom.

The Long Term Options Report is still scheduled for September.

184 days/6 Months into Lake Closure – Water Quality Updates Requested

Despite progressing well into winter with cooler water conditions far from ideal for Algal growth, the lake still remains closed. With the last water quality update 2 months ago, the Care Group have requested regular updates every 3 months to keep the public informed on current conditions and any improvements.

Council have advised they are working towards providing regular water quality trends in the near future that will be updated on the Councils Lake Hugh Muntz Webpage

Winter/early spring is normally the time the lake “gasps for air” from the ongoing Algal blooms but the current brown, cloudy water conditions are not promising.

The Short term Options Report from Griffith Algae Experts due shortly may offer some hope for improving conditions.

 

.

Meeting With Algae Experts/LHM Action Plan Timeline

The Care Group, Council Representatives and Griffith Algae experts met on the 1st of June to discuss options for restoration including;

This was a general discussion with no specifics relating to LHM due to options still being investigated.

The Lake Hugh Muntz Action Plan Timeline was released indicating proposed timelines for investigation and possible implementation of solutions. Please see the link below for more info.

Link: LHM Action Plan Timeline.

A brief summary of points below;

  • Paul Taylor pushing for approval of the initial 100k funds at Council Budget Meeting.(funding not yet approved)
  • Full 100k to be spent on improvements.
  • No clear short term options indicated, but will be considered before the swimming season. Therefore, no clear indication on if and when the lake will be open to swimming at this stage.
  • Short term solutions ideally implemented before increased Algal growth heading into summer.
  • Vacuum removal of current floating algal blooms along shoreline is being investigated but difficulty with filtering the algae.
  • Council health dept indicate no current health risks from airborne contaminants from Algal blooms.
  • Long term options still being investigated. Griffith Experts running lab tests on various lake samples with several possible solutions. Long term Options Report due in September.
  • Investigation of improved water quality monitoring with possible live recording devices.
  • Visibility and ongoing, regular updates to the public on water quality results with meaningful summary.
  • Care Group requests involvement in the Revised Lake Hugh Muntz Management plan in September.
  • Meeting with Key users and groups to discuss options recommended by Griffith Experts.

 

Care Group Meeting With Algae Specialist/Management Plan Suggestions

Care group representatives will be meeting with Griffith Uni Algae experts and Council on Friday 1st of June.

The meeting is a great opportunity to raise User and Resident concerns and seek clarification on issues/difficulties and the best way forward.

To  get the most out of the meeting, the Care Group have produced a Draft Management Plan suggestions for discussion and some sample questions below for the algae experts.

LINK-Draft Management Plan Suggestions

WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!!!

  1. Please review the Draft Management Plan Suggestions and Questions.
  2. Email your comments/suggestions to lakehughmuntz@gmail.com.
  3. All comments/suggestions  will be passed onto Council.

Questions for Algae Experts.

  1. ‘What is the Scope/ or brief that Griffith University are being asked to complete?
  2. What are the expected outcomes and timeframes for the research and report from Griffith University?
  3. How long can this expertise be drawn on?
  4. Past History.
  • Are there algae tests older than 2 years for analysis?
  • What were the trends over time?
  • What was the trigger for this outbreak?
  • How could this have been prevented?
  1. Are GCCC testing for Presence of dangerous Toxins like BMAA?
  2. Is there a concern for airborne toxins?
  3. Out of 100K budget, how much spent in Research Vs Improvements?
  4. What is the outlook for swimming next summer?
  5. Possible Solutions.
  • Aeration. Pros/Cons/Viable alternative.
  • Phoslock. Pros/Cons/Viable alternative
  • Biological Treatment. EG.  Biostim. Pros/Cons/Viable alternative.
  • Alum Treatment. Pros/Cons/Viable alternative.
  • Saltwater reduction through Drain Outlet Control. Pros/Cons/Viable alternative.