A retired ‘wetland specialist’ has come up with a plan to fix Lake Wyangan’s blue-green algae problems.
Geoff Sainty, who spent years working with wetlands and aquatic plants, said he was annoyed the problem hadn’t been fixed yet so he came up with a solution.
“The water in South Lake Wyangan can’t be used because of the red alerts and so it just evaporates, about 1500 megalitres a year,” Mr Sainty said.
“A balanced aquatic ecosystem doesn’t usually develop blooms at a toxic level. The most cost-effective, long-term solution is to improve the spread of other flowering aquatic plants to compete with the problem.”
The problem, according to Mr Sainty, is actually about 2000 different types of cyanobacteria, which are commonly known as blue-green algae. Mr Sainty said these ancient bacteria thrive in still bodies of water where carp have destroyed competing plants. South Lake Wyangan, he believed, was such a body of water.
Fortunately, he said, local swamps and irrigation channels can be used to clean up the water.
Lakeview Branch Canal runs from the southern lake towards Tharbogang Wetland. Mr Sainty believed draining most of the water from the southern lake into the wetland would allow NSW Fisheries to harvest the carp in the lake and build a shallow wetland in its place to effectively ‘filter’ the water.
In the northern lake, aerators and mechanical mixers stirring the water combined with the right type of water plants would limit the ability of cyanobacteria to thrive.
“In Lake Wendouree near Ballarat, cyanobacteria hasn’t been a problem because of competing submerged water plants,” Mr Sainty said.
“It mostly blooms when there is little or no other competition.”
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said the ideas had merit.
“I’d like to talk to Mr Sainty and the staff about these ideas,” Councillor Dal Broi said.
“If we don’t come up with strategies to deal with blue-green algae at Lake Wyangan it could be disastrous to tourism.
“This concept isn’t new and it’s not rocket science, but we should look at it especially because the infrastructure’s already partly there.”