EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH – Due to growing public interest about the algae in the City Park lake, BREC released the following statement:
City Park Lake is owned by the City Parish and managed by BREC and has been a recreational staple in the community since it was built in 1928. The lake, which previously was a swamp, has been plagued by algae blooms and fish kills since the 1940’s. It is a shallow, high temperature lake that is constantly saturated by nutrients from surrounding storm-water runoff sources. These conditions have created a hyper-productive state for plants and algae both below and floating on the surface. With a current average depth of around 2 feet, the lake is overwhelmed by blooming algae, floating duckweed, submerged coontail and alligator weed during hot summer months.
BREC is dedicated to returning the lake to the recreational, scenic destination it was intended to be when it was built and is looking at both long and short-term solutions to this problem. Both biological and chemical controls can and will be used as short-term treatments when it is safe and necessary to do so in order to treat some of the symptoms this pond is facing. However, conditions must be right in order to launch these efforts including cooler temperatures to ensure the fish in the pond have enough oxygen to survive the treatment. Sterile grass carp which will eat some of the submerged vegetation in the pond will be stocked in the fall of 2019 with the help of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Additionally, once temperatures are reduced to an applicable level, BREC will evaluate if a copper sulfate treatment is necessary to reduce algae.
Unfortunately, we believe a copper sulfate treatment at this time, with current temperatures, would result in killing the fish inhabiting the lake. In addition to these short-term treatments, BREC is dedicated to a long-term solution for the lake in the form of increasing the depth of the lake by dredging and building wetland buffers to protect it from runoff nutrients. BREC appreciates the public’s patience and understanding as we work with natural forces to ensure we use public funds wisely and choose the best course of action for the resource. We look forward to the positive outcomes that the dredging project will create for the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish and having a scenic lake once again in the next few years.