A View From The Lake

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 06/24/97.

On June 11, 1992, we were on vacation at the cabin and looking forward to spending lots of time on the lake. As we walked down to the dock, I remember thinking that the water looked brown and green. Upon closer examination we realized that something was drastically wrong. Lake Koronis looked as I have never seen it. Brown sludge with green slime dominated the water in the bay. It was so gross that I returned to the cabin to retrieve my camera and proceeded to shoot two rolls of film. We even went to the lookout tower at the Regional Park to see the extent of the sludge. On that calm day, as far as we could see, the lake looked like a sewer.

Since the summer of 1992 I have been on the lookout for a repeat performance of the poor quality water. Fortunately, the lake has looked much healthier and even at the end of the summers the water has appeared clear.

On June 16 of this past week, I drove to the cabin to drop off my mom and daughter. They were going to have a mini vacation, just the two of them. I jumped on the riding mower to cut the grass as my daughter ran down to the dock to check the water. She came running back, arms waving and signaling that I had to come and check out the water. Much to my disappointment, large chunks of green slime were floating everywhere in the bay. I found slight consolation in the fact that when looking between the floating blobs the water was crystal clear.

My aunt and uncle reported that the slimy globs had appeared a few days earlier and seemed to move around the lake, dependent on the blowing winds. That particular evening the wind was nil and the globs happened to land near our shore.

The condition of the water certainly affected the plans of my daughter to swim during her vacation. In fact, she had me bring the paddle boat down to the beach, but not launch it onto the water. She didnít know if she wanted to be anywhere near the lake. I jokingly suggested that she and her grandma could take out the canoe instead of the paddle boat. By the look on her face I knew her response before she gasped, ďBut, Mom, we might flip the canoe and touch that stuff!Ē

In 1992, I remember that in addition to the brown sludge and green slime was some type of chemical that appeared as shiny turquoise on the rocks near shore. That year had seen lots of rain and the thought was that some of the runoff from the Crow River may have created the problem.

This year I wonder what has caused the green slime. We have had little rain causing runoff, so I doubt that could be the cause. Perhaps it is a delayed response from the heavy snows of winter and flooding during the spring.

As far back as August 1894, documentation has been found to suggest problems with water quality. In the New Paynesville Press was the following article: "The water in the river is lower than it has been for years. It has become stagnant, and is covered with a green scum and the smell that arises from it is similar to that of a broken egg that has been on the sick list. A good rain is needed to start the circulation."

In January 1886 the ice that was taken from Lake Koronis was affected by the low stage of water. ďIt is said by those who have tried it that the water from ice taken out of Lake Koronis tastes of weeds.Ē

From past experience I know that the water quality will improve and that once again everyone will be enjoying Lake Koronis. We are lucky that we aren't dependent on drinking water or using ice made from lake water. I just can't picture my daughter taking a long cool drink from the lake this week. Whatever the cause of the floating menace, we hope that it will soon magically disappear allowing us to capture a slime free view from the lake.

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