At the April 28, 2022 MCLA meeting, Jerry Halverson, Department Director of Manitowoc County Soil & Water Conservation, presented an update on the Gass and English Lake runoff/phosphorus reduction projects.
Gass Lake is a 6½ -acre, spring-fed lake located south of Manitowoc in the Town of Newton. Lake monitoring done by lakes association members indicated a significant increase in phosphorus levels over the last several years. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient needed for plant growth, but too much of it in streams, rivers, and lakes can cause overgrowth of aquatic plants, increased harmful algal blooms, decreased light penetration and decreased levels of dissolved oxygen. Each of these conditions make it difficult for fish to live and people to swim, and negatively impacts property values, recreation, and public health.
The Gass Lake project of summer 2020 diverted 450 acres of watershed runoff from entering the lake, redirecting it to the lake outlet stream without first flowing into the lake where it was depositing pollutants.
- A pass and clay dike was constructed to divert the water. The pass is 2′ deep and 7′ wide.
- The cost of the project was approximately $8,500 and was funded by private parties and the Gass Lake Association.
Manitowoc County Lakes Association, Gass Lake Association members, and Manitowoc County Soil & Water Conservation Department worked together to get this project completed.
Gass Lake pass, photo courtesy of Jerry Halverson
English Lake is a 51-acre lake located 4 miles southwest of Manitowoc in the Town of Newton. Home owners living near the lake noticed that brown surface water runoff and brown tile water from cropland north of the lake was discharging into the lake. This was adding sediment, phosphorus, and other pollutants to the lake.
In the spring of 2022, a water and sediment control basin was installed just north of the prairie with a new tile line to re-direct surface water runoff north and away from the lake. Two other existing tile lines that were out-letting into the lake were abandoned, and new tile lines were installed to re-direct tile water away from English Lake.
- The water now running into the lake will be substantially cleaner.
- The cost of the project was approximately $33,000 and was paid for with grant funds.
The project was a success thanks to the cooperative effort of the landowners, English Lake Rehabilitation and Protection District, and Manitowoc County Soil & Water Conservation Department.
English Lake runoff diversion project (April – May 2022), photos courtesy of Jerry Halverson.