Have received information from Council that recent water quality testing undertaken within Lake Hugh Muntz has indicated an increase in Algae Biovolume. Council is currently testing the water on a weekly basis.
This information is in line with the current observations of reduced water clarity and the lake turning a green/brown colour. Will provide further updates on progress when received.
A “Blame the Residents” approach to the ongoing Water Quality Issues has been publically communicated to key user groups through emails and in the recent Division 10 newsletter. In response, the Care Group have raised the issue directly with Paul Taylor in the letter below;
Local residents have recently received your Division 10 Newsletter and the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group and local residents have raised concerns about the statements you are making in relation to what is causing the current issues in Lake Hugh Muntz.
” Lake Hugh Muntz has been experiencing water quality issues caused by an increase in nutrient-rich run-off water from surrounding properties combined with the surge of warmer weather – creating the perfect environment for algae growth. As part of the ongoing maintenance of the lake, the City closed the lake from 10 to 17 December 2018 to allow Phoslock® testing in the water. This testing is now complete.” Division 10 Newsletter
Statements which insinuate a ‘blame the residents only’ approach being communicated in your newsletter is a very disappointing reflection of your lack of support.
A survey of lake front properties indicates that there are very few grassed or unfenced properties that would be the main cause of this issue. Lake front properties are well maintained with lawns mown with catchers. As you are well aware since 2012 the LHM Care Group have been educating residents on the importance of minimising any impact on the lake, including voluntary bans on fertiliser use.
Residents feel that the areas of greatest concern are the Park areas were GCCC workers use mowers and whipper snippers with all the clippings going directly into the lake and secondly the areas where there is considerable soil erosion which also ends up directly in the lake.
Where are your statements to the community that reflect that the GCCC is also accepting responsibility for the impact that their current management and maintenance practices have on the issues facing Lake Hugh Muntz?
What are you doing to proactively ensure that GCCC develops Park Maintenance Practices that will minimise the environmental impact on Lake Hugh Muntz?
It is time to stop hiding behind ‘smoke screens and mirrors’ and provide the community with honest, accurate information from:
The recent water quality results,
The GCCC recommendations for the plans for the next stage to be implemented to ensure that Lake Hugh Muntz will be saved and
A budget of how the $100 000 allocated for rehabilitating Lake Hugh Muntz will be spent.
We will welcome an opportunity to discuss with you in detail what steps you are actually taking to proactively support and encourage the GCCC to ensure the long term future of Lake Hugh Muntz as a highly valued community asset.
Lake Hugh Muntz is one of the most valuable environmental and community assets located on the Gold Coast. It will be a very sad indictment on your track record as a representative for the community in Division 10 if you don’t prioritise and show support for ensuring that Lake Hugh Muntz is saved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
Great to see the recent rain but unfortunately this has washed soil into many areas of the lake on top of the recent Phoslock application. Soil together with leaves, lawn clippings etc added directly to the lake are only going to add nutrients to the water that feed the algae and reduce the effectiveness of this expensive application.
It is important that GCCC and residents accept responsibility and take action. Minimise any erosion of soil and lawn clippings entering the lake by ensuring adequate maintenance of lawn areas, mowing of lawns with catchers and erosion control measures to reduce this damage.
The Phoslock treatment of the lake is progressing and the even spread of the product is important to provide the best possible outcome for the lake. To ensure an even distribution, please adhere to the Councils signage and do not enter the water this weekend!
Some great news with a trial of Phoslock to begin next week! This trial will involve a whole lake treatment, not just a small trial area.This could not of come at a better time with the latest water quality results indicating an increase of algae in all areas with the lake possibly heading for closure in the near future.
Phoslock has been highlighted by Griffith Uni as one of the key products to offer possible improvements to the condition of LHM. It should be noted that due to many variable factors, there is no guarantee that this treatment will provide the desired results.
The treatment will involve the spreading of Phoslock to the surface of the lake by boat. The treatment will take time to settle to the bottom. As a result the lake will be closed all next week and signs will be erected notifying the public.
The challenge now is to implement an effective Management Plan to ensure that any improvements are maintained to provide long term improvements in water quality for the benefit of all lake users.
From experience, nothing every happens quickly in Council!
Council should be commended for getting this major treatment implemented before the next algae outbreak with special mention to Paul Taylor, Steven Mc Veigh and Darren Ford for getting this treatment over the line in a very short time fame.
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.
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!
“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!
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;