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OUR VIEW: Anxious for lake study results

An aerial photo of Lake Mitchell from 2009. (Republic file photo)

Great green gobs of disgusting, smelly algae filled Lake Mitchell over the summer.

With long stretches of hot, dry weather in eastern South Dakota, we heard several cries that this was the worst condition the lake’s ever been in.

We know this: It sure was nasty at times. And that’s why we’re getting anxious for Omaha-based water quality specialist Fyra Engineering to present its findings on the lake’s problems to the City Council soon.

The recreational opportunities at the lake are plentiful. Angling, scenery and walking and bike trails are all draws for the city’s residents. But do we want to show off our lake when it looks like it did over the summer? Heck no.

There needs to be an urgency to figure out how to realistically slow the massive algae blooms each summer from overtaking Lake Mitchell.

The City Council voted in October 2016 to spend more than $73,000 for Fyra to comprehensively study the lake. There are also a Watershed Advisory Committee and a Technical Advisory Team assembled of volunteers who understand the importance of improving  the lake.

While we’re encouraged to see steps in the right direction, the information we get within the next month from Fyra will be crucial to the future of the lake.

On Tuesday, Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell informed the Lake Advisory Committee that the key individual leading the Fyra study has left the agency, which doesn’t lend any extra confidence to the results. And with a handful of studies having been conducted in the past, we empathize with those who think this $73,725 report wasn’t the best use of city dollars.

But we have to be optimistic in anticipation of Fyra’s report. So here’s hoping the information Fyra provides will ultimately lead to answers to fix the lake.

Because, quite honestly, we have no idea what will happen if this study falls flat.

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