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The Lake Dredge Stands Idle

May 5, 2016
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

The dredging of Five Island Lake has been suspended for the time being. Five Island Lake's exemplary year clean up project has stalled out perhaps for the first time since 1990 when Emmetsburg voters overwhelmingly approved the Bond issue to buy the dredge. Something that valuable to Emmetsburg needed City leadership to keep it going.

What would Doc Coffey do? The late Jim Coffey's legacy to Emmetsburg was his leadership in the Lake Dredging project. He helped the City with grants, fundraising and acquiring land for dredge sites. City leadership presently says dredging is "suspended" due to lack of funding.

What are others saying? On Facebook, two friends were quick to ask, "I wonder if the Shores had anything to do with it?" Another comment was: "With a new community center and proposed campground on Five Island Lake, we can't let the lake turn into a mud puddle."

And now, City Mayor and Council approved spending for a new Camp Ground east of the tracks even though that project was rebuffed by Citizens ranking it a low priority in a community survey. Mayor and City Council approved it anyway rather than using those resources to keep the dredge running.

What would the late Doc Coffey say? In his book Saving Glacier's Creation: Five Island Lake Restoration Projects (2003). Doc wrote (page 151) that "it's the phosphorus in the water and the phosphorus in the silt" that keeps algae flourishing. That is why we need to keep pumping silt from the lake out onto the deposit sites away from the lake.

This explains why Jim would answer when you asked him how long would we need to keep dredging the lake. In his own words, " as long as we want to remove the phosphorus and algae" and then he would add, "but those silt sites make for fertile crop land with all that phosphorus." (The book is available at our Library).

For the first summer since Emmetsburg voters spoke in a landslide of support for buying the dredge, the pipes are being emptied and the dredge stands idle.

What's wrong with that picture? Contact the Mayor and the City Councilmen and ask them why they let this happen.


(signed) David E. Nixon

Emmetsburg, IA



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