The winter of 2009/2010 was exceptionally dryer and warmer than typically observed by the region. The results of the mild winter are expected to affect Lake Stevens in two ways: possibly lower lake levels this summer and higher levels of vegetation and algae growth.
With the very low intensity rainfall events this past winter, the lake and its tributary basins have lower than normal volumes of water flowing into the lake. Typically at this time of the year, the lake level is maintained at a low level to allow for storage capacity in the lake to handle heavy spring rain events without flooding the surrounding properties.
Typically around April and May, the lake level is slowly raised to bring the level up for recreation purposes with a peak level achieved around June and July.
However, due to the low intensity of rainfall events this past season, the City of Lake Stevens is making efforts to raise the level of the lake earlier this year.
What has been observed is that the lake level is about 2/10s of a foot lower than normal. The City will continue to monitor the rainfall and lake level events in an effort to capture spring rainfall to achieve a desired summer lake level.
The warmer weather is also showing early impact on the lake in the form of algae blooms. While algae blooms are not uncommon to the lake, the blooms are showing up earlier in the season.
The aerators will help to limit algae growth during the summer, but they cannot completely offset the impact of nutrients washing into the lake from the surrounding watershed. This warmer weather is also likely to result in a higher volume of aquatic weeds.
The City is performing an aquatic weed management plan to identify weed types found in Lake Stevens and a strategy to control these vegetation conditions.
The public can do their part by using good stewardship practices such as not using chemical fertilizers, using environmentally safe cleaning solutions outdoors, and properly disposing of animal waste. If you are taking boating equipment in and out of the lake, do a visual check for weeds. If you spot any, remove and properly dispose of them to keep them from transferring into the lake.
Lake Stevens is an integral part of our community and requires careful management. The City will continue its efforts to protect this valuable resource and to ensure the continued health of the lake.