To the Editor:

As a member of the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee, I want to thank Mayor Everson, the city staff, and the City Council for putting together and passing an ordinance to purchase land on both sides of the Firesteel Creek a mile above Lake Mitchell. This low-lying land so close to the lake is perfect for the needed wetland.

Studies have shown that because of the huge area of watershed, (over 350,000 acres), the Firesteel water (whether it is run-off or erosion) has off-the-charts phosphorus content that drives our lake algae problem.

To take advantage of the opportunity to own land that can be converted into a filtering wetland this close to the lake is fortuitous. The recent technical memorandum study documented the need of a managed wetland for phosphorus uptake and sediment control above the lake. Approximately 53 percent of the lake’s annual phosphorus problem is from watershed runoff. In addition, 66 percent of this runoff phosphorus is dissolved phosphorus, not tied up in sediment, and therefore is readily available for algae growth. This will be a huge first step reclaiming our lake.

By owning this land, we now will be better able to obtain the assistance of other organizations like Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, NRCS, GF&P, James River Water Development District, etc., in this project, as the purchase price can constitute part of our match.

The only issue I’ve heard is, why do we buy the expensive home along with the land? The seller was only interested in selling a package deal (home and land) and the city has said they have no interest whatsoever in continued ownership of the home, and will endeavor to sell it. Anyone who has bought farmland knows, once land is sold to another party, the chances of buying it again for years will be remote.

It is time to move forward with reclaiming and enhancing our lake that many other communities can only wish they had.

Mike Vehle