Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Keeping our Parks and Lakes Healthy

Some local kids stopped by to watch the fish releaseat Mackle Park. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Some local kids stopped by to watch the fish releaseat Mackle Park. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Nancy Richie

Environmental projects were completed this year to improve water quality to support native wildlife populations and recreational uses of the Mackle Park Lake and Lee Plummer Park Lake. The project methods are to improve and stabilize water quality, to increase lake management, install a fountain (at Mackle Park only), stock fish and plant native plant species along the banks of each lake.

City contracted, EarthGuard Lake Management, continues to monitor the lakes on a monthly basis to ensure water quality standards are consistent and stable. The monitoring includes water testing for dissolved oxygen, chlorides, conductivity and turbidly.

The installation of a floating fountain in Mackle Park Lake at the southwestern end near the Canine Cove dog park area has improved circulation, increasing dissolved oxygen for the benthic and fish populations. The fountain will also keep the surface disturbed preventing aquatic plants and algae from congregating. It is a compliment to the already existing fountain in the northern area of the lake.

Native plant species occurred earlier this summer. Plant species such as bulrush, pickerel weed and arrowhead were planted along the banks of the lakes in several areas to provide erosion control, water filtration and habitat for the lake’s wildlife. They are hardy, native plants and once established will not require maintenance. Unfortunately, the exotic species found in our parks, Muscovy Ducks, do eat the new plants, so if this occurs, the plants will be replenished.

The fish stocking was on hold until the plants established themselves. Now established, they will provide habitat and cover for the fish recently introduced to the lake. To start, 300 Large-mouthed Bass, 1,100 Bream (Blue Gill) and 300 Freshwater Catfish were introduced to the Mackle Park Lake and a few hundred each of the Bream and Bass, with about a dozen Catfish to Lee Plummer Park lake. The fish will improve the ecosystems of the lakes by keeping the water column mixing with nutrients, eating aquatic vegetation and small insects, controlling over growth, and providing food for birds and other animals that use these lakes. As the fish grow, which will be quickly, the fish can be caught and released for recreational opportunities at the lakes.

Alex Galiana, Administrative and Facilities Manager for Parks and Recreation, put a couple of the fish in the Mackle Park fish aquarium if you want to check them out! Take a walk and enjoy our parks – they are beautiful!

For more information on this program, please contact Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island, at 239-389-5003 or nrichie@cityofmarcoisland.com.

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