Time for a real solution for Charlie Lake

It has been noticed that Charlie Lake has a large amount of blue-green algae present. According to any health authority, this is a very dangerous health concern to pets and humans. On Facebook, it has been noted that people's dogs have died from swimming in blue-green algae-contaminated waters. Our concern is that the health authorities, plus the PRRD and the City of Fort St. John, have turned a blind eye to this situation.

One only has to look on the internet to see the implications posed by this contamination. From studies done in the United States on communities living near contaminated waters, the health risks are enormous, not only to pets and humans, but the aquatic species. These toxins build up in the organs of the fish and consumption should be limited.

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Blue-green algae is caused by the amount of available nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen. This, in turn, is blamed on agriculture and leaking, such as septic tanks, in to the waterbody. In the past few years, community meetings have stated this and solutions were tabled, such as chemically ridding the lake of the weeds and algae, resulting in a huge expense to taxpayers and damaging aquatic life.

In past history of this lake, before the south-end dike was built, the algae was non-existent.

A solution that is recommended to rid a water body of this blue-green algae is to oxygenate it. This can be done simply and with no cost by having a flow of water. In the last three or four years, the dam at the south end of the lake has been controlled to shut the flow of water out of Charlie Lake completely to raise the water level. Fish Creek has been completely dry in the summer for the last few years. This is a fish-bearing stream and the historical Sucker runs noted in the archives of the First Nations and the residents that remember them have been completely decimated. 

This dam was originally built to keep a constant level to facilitate a water injection plant for the Scurry Rainbow oil and and gas company, now non-existent. Presently, in our estimation, it is controlling the water level so that the newer boat launch at the south end of the lake has an adequate level to facilitate its use. It is our opinion that this boat launch was constructed improperly by not giving enough overall depth to facilitate its use. 

There have been numerous complaints against it because of the large rocks piled at the end of it to former an underwater breakwater. Anyone with a large, propeller-driven motor cannot launch there without damaging it.

We would like to see the PRRD and the City of Fort St. John take responsibility of this blue-green algae situation and remedy the problem as soon as possible by allowing the flow of water and not creating a large, 13-kilometre long stagnant slew.

— Joe Johnston and a group of concerned Charlie Lake residents

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