Riverkeeper: Secchi Disk results show good lake water quality
Results from a recent water-quality test show that Lake Norman’s water clarity is healthy, Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman said.
The Secchi Disk challenge, which collected samples from all 11 lakes in the Catawba Lake to determine the water health and quality, was the first of its kind for the region.
For testing, 74 volunteers across the region dropped weighted black and white disks into the lake water to see how far down the disks were still visible.
“Put simply, the further down they could see the disks the better quality the water,” Merryman said.
Lake James scored the highest with an average viewing depth of 77 inches. Lake Norman scored third with 70.4 inches, edged out slightly by Mountain Island Lake at 71.9. The riverkeeper will do this test annually going forward.
Merryman noted that the water quality declined the further down the lake chain, with Lake James at the top and Wateree Lake and Cedar Creek at the bottom of the chain scoring the lowest. This is likely caused as water collects sediment and chemical-laden storm water run-off as it travels down stream.
Although lake levels are still at healthy levels, it’s important, Merryman said, that residents not wait to think about conservation.
“Things are very good right now, but we need to be vigilant against things like heavy development, which tends to lead to a lot of sediment deposits in the lakes, and storm water run off,” he said. “If we’re not thinking about this now, we may not always have such good lake water quality.”
Merryman said residents could take some small steps at home to contribute greatly to protecting water quality like collecting rain in buckets or creating a rain garden.
How each lake fared in average visibility depths in inches
Lake James 77
Mountain Island Lake 71.9
Lake Norman 70.4
Lake Wylie 63
Lake Hickory 40.8
Wateree Lake 41.3
Lake Rhodhiss 37
Cedar Creek 27
Fishing Creek Lake 23.6
Lake Dearborn and Lookout Shoals Lake were not tested
Source: The Catawba Riverkeeper