As the Mitchell City Council waits to hear a Lake Mitchell restoration plan, one councilman is doing some research of his own.
Councilman Kevin McCardle is considering what impact dozens of storm runoff drains are having on Lake Mitchell. And according to documents provided to The Daily Republic by McCardle, there are about 40 outfalls that drain directly into the lake, most of them into bay areas.
"I think it's real valuable, because the bays it runs into are some of the worst areas of the lake, probably," McCardle said of the drainage map.
McCardle said he's still researching what impact those runoff pipes have on Lake Mitchell and what can be done to rectify any problems they cause. And as he researches, the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee is planning to present a $7.62 million dredging project to the council to address the lake's annual algae issues.
While he's far from sold on the dredging plan - believing a second opinion would be beneficial - McCardle said there might be an opportunity to catch and filter some of the storm runoff regardless of whether the proposal to haul sludge out of the lake moves forward.
McCardle's research into the matter earned him some praise from Councilman Mel Olson at Tuesday night's council meeting, and Councilman Jeff Smith said Friday that there's value to the research.
"I think it's great information to have, because we do need to be able to identify all of the areas that are emptying into the lake," Smith said.
Like McCardle, Smith also wouldn't mind another set of eyes on Omaha-based Fyra Engineering's dredging proposal, although he doesn't want to see another full-scale lake study.
Instead, Smith suggested another company could be brought in to assess whether the plan makes sense practically and financially.
"I don't think it would be a bad idea to get another professional company to verify that before we start spending money that you guys are right on track, that this is exactly what you need to do," Smith said.
In McCardle's eyes, a second opinion is a no-brainer.
"I mean, people that get cancer, they get second opinions," McCardle said. "The lake's kind of like cancer."
At the most recent Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee meeting, Mayor Jerry Toomey said Fyra Engineering is leaning toward a dredging plan that would include draining the lake. The plan, according to a document distributed at the Feb. 13 meeting, would restore the lake back to its original 1928 condition.