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History of Water Quality-Lake Trafford

Lake Trafford has gone through a dramatic change in composition, which has brought it from a clear lake with a sandy bottom to it current eutrophied state. Combinations of human and environmental actions and reactions have contributed to the lake's current state which is overloaded with dead plant matter and nutrients.

In the early 1930ís Lake Trafford, a clear lake with a sandy bottom was a good place for fresh water fishing. Fishermen would leave early in the morning on boats to visit fishing holes. However, the fish supply was greatly diminished when hydrilla was introduced to the lake. Hydrilla is a type of algae that blooms very rapidly. Residents were unsure how the invasive algae got to Lake Trafford. Some speculate an animal, or possibly the wind carried it. By 1970 the algae in Lake Trafford was growing out of control. Because the natural life cycle of hydrilla surpasses other algaes, they were literally taking over the lake. The plants werenít dying off quick enough.

Nature couldn't keep up with the progression, so someone had to step in. Starting in the early 70ís, copper diaquaden, a chemical compound was used to kill the plant and keep it at the bottom of the lake. Everything was going fine but three different agencies were trying to correct the problem without knowing of the others. This caused a huge problem for the lake because it was being overloaded with chemicals. In fact, so much copper diaqueden was used that when the government banned it in the early 1980ís plants dying were still dying off years later. The build up of dead plant matter at the bottom of the lake was full of nutrients because the plant material mixed was mixed with fertilizer runoff. Overtime with the right weather conditions led to an algae bloom. Eutrophication cut off the oxygen supply to the fish, which led to the fish kill of 1996 and the need for removal of the layers of muck from the bottom of the lake.

It is important to realize that the lake evolved to its current state over a period of forty or more years. Some important questions can be raised comparing the history of the lake with its future. For instance, would the lake's bottom have turned to muck naturally? Will restoring the lake guarantee its pristine state will last? What will be done to assure that a fish kill won't happen again? Only speculations can be made about the history of the lake and time can truly tell the future of the water's quality.