Lake Survey Suggests Common Concerns

 Lake Survey Suggests United Effort

Photo by Chris Paleo

    The 2009 Lake Resident Survey provides an interesting cut at what our community believes and wants to see in the future. For example, nearly every respondent indicated a desire to alter their household management to eliminate pollutants that affect the lake. Likewise, nearly every resident wants to pitch in by volunteering and/or making financial contributions.  

First, the enthusiasm and concern of our neighbors is overwhelming.  Nearly every individual who responded recognized a deterioration of water quality and wants to do something about it. Most are willing to contribute financially, as volunteers, or both. 

Primary Water Quality Problems: Plants & Algae
The vast majority of those surveyed felt that invasive aquatic plants, such as Eurasian Milfoil, and algae blooms were the most significant problems regarding water quality on Kirk Lake.
Root Causes of Lake Water Quality Problems
Identifying the sources of Kirk Lake's water quality isn't really a matter of opinion.  It will take careful scientific work by the Lake Management Committee to try to positively identify the most significant causes of plant and algae growth.  People's perceptions are important too, however, and in responding to this question, residents believed the root causes of these problems are lawn fertilizers, storm water runoff, and residential development, in that order.  Other sources of lake problems cited by respondents were faulty storm drains, gas and oil from power boats, and failing septics, again, in that order.   
Most Want to Be a Part of the Solution... 
Nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated that they would be willing to change their personal and household habits in order to prevent pollutants from entering the lake.  These might include using alternative or "eco-friendly" household detergents and cleaners, for example, or switching to phosphorus-free products.  About 30% indicated that they already have made these changes. About 4% said they weren't sure.  Perhaps best of all, nobody responded that they would NOT be willing to do so. The results were very similar for a question regarding phosphorus-free lawn fertilizer.
Regarding septic systems, 65% of respondents said that they know how to maintain their septic systems; about 14% said that they didn't know and 21% said they weren't sure. More than 2/3 indicated that they would be willing to attend a workshop to learn more. (That will certainly be a part of our May 1 Community Meeting.)
 Old Timers, Newbies, and Lifelong Residents... 
Nearly half of all respondents have lived on Kirk Lake for more than 20 years.  About 14% have lived here between 11 and 20 years. On the other hand, 15% of those surveyed have lived here less than 5 years, and 20% have been here from 5 to 10 years.  That's a total of 35% who have lived on Kirk Lake between one and ten years. It's encouraging to see that so many of the "new" residents are interested in improving lake quality.  The diverse backgrounds are also certain to be an asset.