By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
For years, the City of Great Bend battled a blue-green algae issue at
Veterans Lake. The problem was remedied in 2015 by inserting doses of alum into
the body of water to remove the phosphorus from the geese. The lake has
remained off the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s blue-green algae
warning list since the alum insert. That’s the good news.
The bad news is the previous blue-green algae issues have wiped out most of the habitat for the fish, such as plants beneath the water.
City Administrator Kendal Francis said the state continues to stock the lake with fish, but without much habitat, there is no place for the fish to feed, hide, grow and live. The city hopes to create artificial habitats at both Vet’s Lake and Stone Lake.
"A lot of the water willows will be on the edge," said Francis. "There were some talks about cattails down by the walking bridge, but those can be invasive. These are not enormous structures."
The state will provide the vegetation habitats to plant or install, but the city will need to build structures around the habitat sections until they’re strong enough on their own. Great Bend is considering high school groups to help build and install the aquatic life.
"Biologists told us it needs to be a two to three year process to really get things established, but once it's established, then the fish will have a habitat and the fishing will be significantly better," said Francis.
Funding to build up the fish habitats will come from the .15% sales tax revenue designated for quality of life projects. There is $5,500 assigned to the project this year, and $5,000 planned for each the next two years.