‘Secchi Disk’ results show lake water clarity healthy

by Josh Lanier

Results from a recent water-clarity test show that Mountain Island Lake’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. Mountain Island scored second with 71.9 inches, slightly edging out Lake Norman at 70.4.
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 thing 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 rain 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

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