Wednesday, March 14, 2012

City maps Asian Clams clamming up Lake Whatcom

Since invasive AsianClams were found in Lake Whatcom in September 2011, the city has been working to understand the extent of the infestation and is currently considering hiring a dive team to fully map the distribution of clams in the lake.

“We have met to ascertain the cost and timing of a dive team mapping,” said Clare Fogelsong, Environmental Resource Manager for the BellinghamPublic Works Department. “That will help us in turn determine our response.”

The Asian Clam, scientifically known as Corbicula fluminea, is an invasive specie that, according to Julian Olden, associate professor of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, poses a threat not only to native clams, but also to Whatcom County citizens who depend on the lake for drinking water.

Live Asian Clams and dead shells damage and clog water intake pipes, costing the U.S. about a billion dollars per year according to U.S.Geology Survey estimates.

The issue was originally brought to the attention of the city on Sept. 17 when a resident brought unidentified clams a city-sponsored presentation about boat inspections. Since then, the city has confirmed significant infestations in Lake Whatcom around Bloedel Donovan Park, Lakewood, Sudden Valley and Wildwood.

Fogelsong said he doesn't believe it is coincidental that all the sites where the clams have been found are sites where there is high boat traffic or where float planes land.

The infestation in the lake has “precluded [the city] doing anything simple” according to Fogelsong, but he hopes the mapping will lead to a management solution.

A History of invasion
Native to southern Asia, Australia, and the Mediterranean, Asian Clams were first found in the U.S. in 1938 when they were discovered in the Columbia River in Washington. They are commonly thought to have been introduced as a food source by Chinese immigrants. According to Olden, the clams may also have been brought in ballast water of Asian ships or with the importation of the Giant Pacific oyster, also from Asia.

The clams have now spread through the country, traveling in mud and sediments left in watercraft or in bait barrels used by fisherman, according to Fogelsong's suspicions. Clams can also travel passively along water currents and may be introduced intentionally for harvesting purposes as they are a tasty addition to many Asian soups.

Lake Whatcom was home to the first reported clam populations in Whatcom County, but in October 2011 clams were also discovered in Lake Padden and Whatcom Creek.

Laurel Baldwin of the WhatcomCounty Noxious Weed Board said there are a number of sites where clams have been found on the Lake Whatcom, mostly on the south shore, but the city is still doing surveys to establish were the largest concentrations are.

The latest survey conducted on Jan. 12 at Dellesta Point yielded no clams.

Clam populations were found at North Point Park in Sudden Valley and the Sudden Valley Marina in December 2011, though this location is not thought to be a point of introduction as only two clams were found. According to the city, clams were most likely spread from the Lakewood site, home of Western Washington University's watersports facility.

Some county officials think there is a link between boat use and population concentrations, including Baldwin who said she believes the older colonies are certainly associated with boat traffic. 

The impact on the lake
The tiny gold clams measuring under an inch in length may seem like an unlikely culprit, but can have devastating effects on water bodies.

Baldwin said the clams reproduce so rapidly that the dead shells can accumulate and replace the natural substrate. This means sharp, course sand that can be rough on the feet of swimmers and beach goers.

Clams are even more than a nuisance for citizens though, as they are carried into water filtration systems, clogging pipes that treat and distribute Bellingham's drinking water.

A native mussel
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
Baldwin also suspects that the clams may intensify Lake Whatcom's phosphorous level concerns, as they release significant amounts of phosphorous into the mud, encouraging toxic algae growth that can also clog water pipes.

The Asian Clam is capable of living in polluted water bodies better than native clams. Lake Whatcom's native mussels and clams, Anodonta oregonensis and Anodonta kennerlyi, may find it harder to compete for food and space to live as the Asian Clams multiply.

Olden said Asian Clams are also superior filer feeders, meaning they can consume particles and pollutants from the water very quickly. 

“Although this may seem good for water quality, there are examples of native ducks feeding on these Asian clams,” Olden said. “It causes the ducks to be poisoned themselves and can cause reproductive problems for waterfowl.”

According to the city, an area south of survey site in Sudden Valley is heavily used by water fowl and evidence of the birds eating clams was found.

Baldwin also said Asian Clam concentrations can be used as an indication of other forms of pollution. She said the shells of dead Asian Clams provide other invasive species, like Zebra Muscles, with the dissolved calcium needed to form shells. Populations of Asian Clams could mean future populations of Zebra Muscles, which Baldwin said would be disastrous.
A reminder to boaters
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran

Plans for the future
Right now the city is focusing their efforts on mapping the populations to better understand the best approach for removing clams.

“Over time if a lake doesn't have a management strategy you are sort of rolling the dice,” Fogelsong said.

Clams can be removed from the lake manually, but this method is labor intensive and time consuming. Plastic sheets can also be laid over clam beds, cutting off their oxygen supply and eventually smothering them. Both of these methods were applied in infested regions of California Lake Tahoe in 2010 and they proved effective in reducing clam populations. The City of Bellingham is considering this strategy.

“There is talk about bottom barriers but if you put them down, you pretty much kill everything,” Baldwin said. “We have to be careful about what ever strategy we decide to use.”

Olden said chemicals can also be used to kill adult and juvenile clams, though there are definite drawbacks to consider.

“The feasibility of these management efforts, particularly for large lakes like Lake Whatcom, is questionable,” Olden said. “Bottom line: prevention is the best line of defense when dealing with Asian Clams.”

With boating season around the corner, Baldwin said the city will step up it's prevention efforts with outreach programs for boaters. She advocates the use of boat wash stations to decrease the amount of species transported from lake to lake and as a location for boater education and awareness about invasive species.

Fogelsong, on the other hand, said boat wash stations will be useless to the effort as clams are not carried on boats themselves, but in standing water and in bait buckets.

Baldwin said that boat wash stations are effective as long as you have the right people manning them and informed citizens using them.

“It's more than just a car wash,” Baldwin said. “It's more technical.”

What ever strategy the city decides on, they still encourage boaters to read their boaters hand book and to remove any plants or animals attached to watercraft or trailers, flush engine water and bait storage with hot water and let boats dry for at least five days before launching them at another location. They emphasize the individual holds a large responsibility for helping curb invasive clam populations. 

Pile up plagues Academy Street twice daily

By the time the bell rings at SilverBeach Elementary minivans span the length of Academy Street. Parents waiting to pick up their children find themselves parked on the side of the narrow road, waiting for up to a half an hour on the crowded, dead-end street.

The pile up develops on Academy Street one afternoon
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
Though this problem has been going on for over 10 years according to Silver Beach parents, nothing has been done by the city or the school district to alleviate congestion around the start of school at 8:30 a.m. or at 3 p.m. when school gets out.

Traffic back ups have become unbearable for Silver Beach parents like John Everett. Though there have been no reported accidents, Everett says he has witnessed plenty of “close calls” and as part of the Silver Beach Neighborhood Association he hopes to call attention to traffic problems.

I have nearly been hit on a number of occasions, and I'm fairly big and noticeable. A smaller kid who's not watching the drivers would be in trouble,” Everett said. “Is it going to take someone getting hurt or killed?”

Everett said he is gathering more information about traffic grievances from parents and he eventually plans to petition the city to improve Academy Street.

But the city has no intention of making improvements to the street according to Chris Comeau, transportation planner for Cityof Bellingham Public Works. Comeau said crowded streets actually lead to safer driving.

“In reality, narrower streets have a tendency to lower vehicle speeds because drivers are forced to pay more attention to the road in front of them,” Comeau said. “Widening streets tends to have the opposite effect, costs a lot of money, and is very undesirable in school zones where children are present.”

Taking to the streets
Instead of widening the road, Comeau said the city is working with the Bellingham School District, Silver Beach Elementary, and residents of the Silver Beach neighborhood to encourage children to walk or ride their bikes to school.

Comeau said a 900-foot-long strip of Academy Street has been chosen for sidewalk improvements by Bellingham's Draft Pedestrian Master Plan, which works to make the community a safer place to walk. The choice is in support of Safe Routes to Schools, a national organization designed to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school.

In a letter he wrote school principal Nicole Tally, Everett said the crowed streets are actually a deterrent for walking to school and parents often prefer to take their children to school themselves, saving them the hassle of waiting for a bus.

“This saves them from having staggered exit times at home, avoids kids waiting in nasty weather for a bus, and shortens the morning routine,” Everett explained. “The half an hour or more of extra sleep can be considerable.”

And even retrofitting the existing sidewalk will not come cheap. Considering what it will cost to put in storm drains and limit runoff, Comeau estimates the city will pay between $500,000 and $855,000 for a new sidewalk.

According to municipalcode, residential streets in the Lake Whatcom Watershed should be 18 feet wide with one sidewalk at least 5 feet wide. The 20-foot-wide Academy Street currently meets these specifications.

If the street were to be modified, on top of extraordinary costs Comeau said, “any new asphalt or concrete added for either street widening or sidewalks is added impervious surface, which must be detained and treated to a very high storm water standard” in order to protect Lake Whatcom from pollution.
Comeau said additional changes to the area are unlikely.

Life in the slow lane
Yet Silver Beach residents remain concerned with the traffic. A survey concerning pedestrian safety distributed by the city in the summer of 2011 revealed Silver Beach residents are worried about “terrible traffic conditions before and after school” on Academy Street. But some parents would argue this does not begin to cover the issue.

For nearly 15 minutes twice a day the street becomes a deadlock. Some parents said they have to arrive up to a half an hour early to drop their children off in time for school.

Until this year the school released on a staggered schedule to reduce traffic but it had to switch to one release time to cut the cost of buses and to provide teachers with more planning time.

However, Kelly Hollingsworth, the father of a first-grader, a third-grader and other students since grown, has been coming up to the school for about 16 years and said that it has always been like this. He thinks it is time for a real change.

“It will be difficult,” Hollingsworth said. “I don't know what the real answer is but something has to be done.”

Cars parked in no parking zones
Photo courtesy John Everett 
As the children spill out of the school, three cars try to squeeze into a road hardly big enough for two cars to pass as parents and buses come and go. Neighbors have lined their properties with orange cones to prevent cars from driving over their yards, yet the neighborhood is still full of muddy corners of tire tracked grass.

Trying to navigate the traffic can be a challenge so cars often park in no parking zones and in crosswalks, making the roads even narrower.

“I usually get mad and have to tell myself it's not worth it,” said Hollingsworth.

Linda Pierce, office assistant at Silver Beach Elementary, leaves her desk in the afternoon to monitor traffic and direct parents.

She has witnessed one or two side swipe accidents in the past few years, incidences she links with the width of the road.

Pierce also said there is no chance for anyone to get into the area around 3 p.m. Residents with meetings at the school, children with extra-curricular activities or people who live in the neighborhood can't get up the street until traffic clears.

Silver Beach parent Everett lives across the street form the school and said someone blocked his drive way, preventing his wife from leaving their home. Everett also said he has had to wait 10 to 15 minutes in the pile up just to get to his house.

Everett says this proposes a particular safety hazard considering emergency vehicles may be unable to reach residences or the school during high traffic periods.

Man on a mission
Everett is planning on distributing a survey to parents as they wait in the line in the morning and collecting it in the afternoon to allow people to express their concerns about the traffic.

“I have nothing written out, but would ask sort of open-ended questions like, 'I would have my child ride the bus if...', or 'We don't walk to school because...", thus giving the parents an honest and anonymous way to respond, in hopes of receiving the most accurate, if not blunt, response as possible,” Everett said in his letter to the principal. “If there is a common thread, we can address that.”

Everett said he hopes to keep costs low, using labor donated in by neighbors and maybe even a fundraiser. Though he hopes to eventually submit a plan to the school board and city planning, he realizes this will be no easy feat.

“I think it will take some 'rule bending' to get whatever proposals are made into a working solution,” Everett said. “There is large amount of red tape to cut through.”

A solution may be far off, but a consensus continues to grow in the community: residents think the layout of Academy Street is anything but smart. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

New dock at Bloedel Donovan afloat this spring

The Bellingham Shoreline Committee gave its recommendation of approved for addition of a floating, non-motorized craft dock on Lake Whatcom in Bloedel Donovan Park on Feb. 23.

Future site of the rowing dock
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
The dock project is being funded by the WhatcomRowing Association and will be installed in Spring 2012. The dock will be open to all users of the park.

It will be more of a hang out dock, a jump off the end dock,” said Lindsay Mann-King, Program Director of the Rowing Association.

The Rowing Association is retrofitting a 12.5 foot by 56 foot floating dock previously owned by the Western Washington University rowing team. Bob Diehl of the Whatcom Rowing Association said the dock will be placed in the area adjacent to the existing boat launches.

Diehl said the dock is a much needed addition to the park as the other docks are too high off the water to launch rowing shells and other man-powered crafts.

Originally, the city was going to install lower docks in the park to accommodate rowers, but due to budget cuts they had to postpone the project. The Rowing Association then decided to pursue building a dock of their own for the use of the whole rowing community.

It will be a safer, more useful launch for boats without motors,” said Steve Sundin, environmental planner for the City of Bellingham.

Keeping the lake in mind

Rowing Association members hope the new dock will encourage the use of non-motorized boats on the lake.

One of the 'charges' of the park dept is to encourage and foster more non motorized use of the lake and this is exactly what this float is intended for,” Diehl said.

Non-motorized boats are a good way to promote stewardship on the lake according to Sundin. Sundin said in general, kayakers and canoers have the “opportunity to cruise the shoreline and their eyes are closer to the shore” so they develop an appreciation for the shoreline. He said he believes this appreciation can lead to better care of the lake.

Environmental concerns were very important during the approval process. The dock will be retrofitted so that 45percent of the surface is made of grated material to allow light to pass through according to the city.

To comply with various regulatory requirements, we have completely modified it to make it more 'fish friendly',” Diehl said.

Solid docks promote unnatural fish behavior according to a U.S.Department of Energy study conducted in 2002.

Sundin also said the dock has been “gutted” and float tubs, air filled compartments, will replace Styrofoam floats that pollute the water.

Invasive species were also a major concern in the permit approval process, said Diehl. According to a 2011 study released by the LakeWhatcom Management Program, Asian Clams are currently infesting the lake and can crowd out native species.

While clams are not carried on the bottom of boats, any new introduction of other invasive grass species from boats could be putting the lake at risk. While the city does not consider the dock a considerable risk, Diehl said as one of the conditions of their permit the Association must distribute educational materials on the risk of spreading non-native species.

All agencies involved in our permit do not see a danger here, but want the public to be aware,” Diehl said.

Mann-King of the Whatcom Rowing Association said the dock will be a great opportunity for the Rowing Association to focus its educational efforts.

Part of our commitment to the community is teaching students about their local watershed,” said Mann-King who stressed protecting the lake is especially important because it provides drinking water to Bellingham citizens.

The proposal is in the works

While the dock will be available for all citizens to use, it is funding from individuals, not the city, that will make building this dock possible.

Diehl said the Rowing Association received many contributions from residents and local suppliers, as well as a grant from the NW Rowing Council. Together these donations have allowed them to retrofit the dock at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Still, the project has been costly.

Of course, anything you do near the water presents challenges and all the expense to prepare the shoreline permit has been big burden for our volunteer, non-profit group,” said Diehl.

The project has been in development for several months. It must now gain the approval of the Bellingham Parks Department and earn the Department of Ecology's Hydraulic Project Approval according to Diehl.

For a very small project, this has taken a very large amount of time and resources to accomplish,” Diehl said.

But with the permit on its way to final approval, Mann-King said all of the pieces are coming together.

“It's more just getting some work parties together,” said Mann-King.

Silver Beach residents can look forward to using the dock in the upcoming spring and summer. For more information on the project, contact the WhatcomRowing Association.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

City may relocate pieces from local sculpture park

The City of Bellingham may decide to move iconic art from local Big Rock Garden Park  to the downtown area. The Bellingham Art Commission  proposed the relocation of “State Street Totem” by Reg Akright and “Head” by David Marshall as a way of bringing new life to the city.

As part of it's  2012 Action Plan the commission hopes to, “assess the City’s public artwork collection to assist potential relocation and regrouping of artwork”. Rearranging sculptures is a good way for to bring more art into the city with out having to purchase new pieces, said Jeni Cottrell, an Art Commission and Friends of the Big Rock Garden Park member.

“It's just like re-arranging the furniture in your house to give it a fresh look,” Cottrell said.

David Marshall's "Head" nestled in Big Rock Garden Park
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
But not everyone is in support of these proposed changes. The relocation of “Head”, one of four pieces in the park by Canadian sculptor David Marshall, drew opposition from members of the Friends of the Big Rock Garden and from sculpture donor and former park owner, George Drake.

“I think that the arts commission made a serious tactile error,” said Drake, who hopes that the piece he donated in 2001 will remain in it's original location. “They are shooting themselves in the foot.”

The Arts Commission is only an advisory board to the city, said Rae Edwards, Parks Volunteer Organizer, and even if the commission decided to move the sculptures, there would still be a long process ahead, including Bellingham Parks Board and city approval as well as funding grants to cover installation and transportation costs.

“It would be a process and there would be discussion and it is not going to happen overnight,” Edwards said. “Pieces don't just get up and move.”

Edwards also said she hopes the parks board would get the opinions of patrons and groups  such as Friends of the Big Rock Garden before it decided a course of action.

The commission is still in the discussion process of the proposal and nothing has been put on paper, said Edwards emphasizing there is a lot that will go into their decision.

Vandalism, for example, is a concern as the sculptures will be moving from a relatively protected area to the downtown streets.

“It doesn't make much sense to move a sculpture to some place where it is going to be vandalized,” Edwards said. “You don't just stick a sculpture on the needs to be a good place for the art and for people to see it.”
"State Street Totem" by Reg Akright stands in the park
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran

Cottrell said the commission has discussed moving, “State Street Totem” to State Street near Key Bank for several years. The piece is made of curb stones from the old road and has historical relevance to that location. Edwards, however, remarked that lots of other curb stone sculptures on display downtown already and that the location may not be as safe as the park is.

Drake said he is not attached to the notion of “State Street Totem” remaining in the park.

“I don't think that would be a loss to the park and it would be an addition to State Street,” said Drake. “The David Marshall piece is another story.”

Marshall's “Head” seems to have more of an identity at the park.  It is part of a collection  donated by  Drake, after an exhibition of 30 Marshall works that were on display in the lower gardens. Now nestled in a forested corner of the park, Edwards thinks it would be lost in a bigger area.

“'Head' is an intimate piece. It is meant to see up close, not far away,” Edwards said. “I think it is best in a setting where you turn a corner and see it and you can look it eye to eye so to speak, and that is the placement it has at Big Rock right now.”

Cottrell argues that there are definite benefits of moving “Head” where more people can see it.

Paths welcome visitors to the park
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
“I think it is probably healthy to do a little bit of moving things around,” Cottrell said. “[It would] get people excited that there are other pieces by the same artist up at the park [and] bring people up to the park.”

The Big Rock Garden park is secluded in the Silver Beach neighborhood on Sylvan Street. It is home to 36 permanent sculptures dispersed along winding paths of a 2.5 acre garden.

Patrons such as Edwards admire the park for it's unique nature.

“I think one thing that is really nice about Big Rock and the way it's set up is that there's is quite a few very nice pieces and you can walk around and see them,” Edwards said. “People come to enjoy the park and the sculpture because it is such a different park from other parks.”

Drake thinks it would be a shame to see the park disassembled.

“That park could be a world class tourist attraction,” Drake said.

Drake and his wife, Mary Ann, owned and maintained the park for 11 years before selling it to the city in 1981. Since then, the park has remained very dear to Drake and he still has a vested interest in its livelihood.

“I am in my 80s now and I started the park 30 years ago. I don't want to see it torn apart before I die,” Drake said.

As the discussion is on going, there is no certainty about which pieces, if any, the city will move from the park. The Bellingham Arts Commission holds public meetings on the first Tuesday of each month to discuss issues such as the fate of Big Rock Garden Park and it's sculpture collection.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Phosphorus laden Lake Whatcom raises eyebrows of the city, neighbors

Another gray day on Lake Whatcom
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
The Bellingham City Council proposed a $7 water rate increase per month to pay for phosphorus reduction efforts in Lake Whatcom. Engineering firm, CH2M Hill, also provided the city with a a cost-benefit analysis of a reduction plan in December 2011, which included retrofits, rain gardens and reorganization of roads.

The city has yet to implement rate hikes and the reduction plan is still under consideration by the city council, but water quality in Lake Whatcom continues to be an issue for all of the Bellingham residents who drink it everyday.

“It's a source of water for almost 100,000 people so it's something we should all pay attention to,” said Myron Wlaznak, Silver Beach resident and Neighborhood Association member.

The lake's phosphorus content is above acceptable levels according to the Department of Ecology, encouraging algae to grow, which limits the oxygen in the lake and contaminates the water pouring out of Belingham's taps.
A sign in Bloedel Donavan tells all
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran

The worth of current programs

The Silver Beach neighborhood, which lies on the watershed and adjacent to the lake, has been host to city projects like the Homeowners Incentive Program. This project provides grants to residents who re-landscape their property to minimize runoff and according to the cost-benefit analysis, Silver Beach will be the target of more programs like this one in the future.

The city also currently distributes rain barrels and circulates educational pamphlets through out the neighborhood to raise awareness of what city programs can offer residents.

Building designer and Sliver Beach resident Jan Hayes said the best way to deal with runoff pollution is to continue to expand these incentive opportunities. Hayes landscaped her property with the help of the Homeowners Incentive Program, which payed for the majority of the project.

“I have done what I can on my property to mitigate my runoff and I am hoping that is significant enough,” Hayes said.

Wlaznak is less confident in the effectiveness of existing programs. He said rain barrels often overflow during heavy rains, spilling rain water back on to the streets. He thinks small changes like rain gardens are not enough to bring about necessary improvements and the city is missing out on mitigating the largest source of runoff: roads.

Runoff flows onto the beach
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
Roads are impervious, meaning water cannot soak into the soil. In addition, Wlaznak said roads in the Silver Beach area are rounded in the middle so runoff flows into shoulders, picking up dirt and phosphorous and depositing it directly into storm drains.

“Once phosphorus becomes soluble,” Wlaznak said, “it is extremely difficult to get it out through any type of filtering medium.”

He suggests ecologically conscious roadway programs, such as the one implemented on North Shore Drive which uses porous pavement so dirty water can be filtered by soil before reaching the lake. Road retrofits will be a feature of the city's reduction plan according to the cost-benefit analysis released by CH2M Hill.

The development debate

Development around the lake is also a concern and most of the money gathered from the water rate hike will go to pay for property purchases so land can be preserved and undeveloped, said Clare Fogelsong, Environmental Resource Manager for the Bellingham Public Works Department.

“We are looking for the most return,” said Fogelsong, who explained the city can maximize phosphorous loading reduction by protecting forested areas around the lake.

“Any disturbance in the land adds and contributes to more phosphorus in the lake so development is one of the big culprits,” Hayes said.

Municipal code prevents land development in Silver Beach during the rainy season from Oct. 1 to May 31 every year to limit phosphorous runoff from loose dirt.

The local perspective

Land acquisition is an important part of the lake's health and Wlaznak could not be a bigger proponent of the cause, but he also calls for a more hands on approach from the city. He suggested experienced gardeners talk to residents while they are working in their yards and offer suggestions about greener landscaping options.

“I think people will respond more to that than to getting a regulation crammed down their throats,” said Wlaznak, who advocated the city work more locally.

“I think the city's approach really needs to be much more interactive with the people, they need to get to know the people,” he said. “I can't tell you how many violations of the watershed rules happen on the weekends and unfortunately the city works nine to five.”

Fogelsong said that the city also hopes to have a more local focus and is “gearing up” it's employees to serve the community better.

“We have spent many years distributing fliers and mailers, and we were just not pleased with the results,” said Fogelsong, emphasizing the city's shift to more involved strategies. He said residents can expect to see more city officials conversing with individuals in the months to come.

But residents must also step up and do their part to limit phosphorus run-off, Hayes said.

A sign presents a call to action in the park
Photo by Mikey Jane Moran
“I think the city has done a reasonable job of putting [information] on their website. They've done public announcements and mailers and all sorts of things to get the word out, but people still have to respond,” she said.

Even with the lake in their front yard, many citizens are unaware of lake pollution issues. Boater and resident of Silver Beach, Alan Lipp, said he doubts community members understand the dangers of phosphorous in the lake.

“I don't know if [residents] know if there is a problem at all,” said Lipp while boating in Bloedel Donovan Park. “I just went to set my boat down and there is dog poop right there by the water.”

Because phosphorous is not visible like other forms of pollution, it can go unnoticed.

“Unfortunately, you can look at the water now and you can't see the problems,” said Wlaznak, though the issue still persists however unseen.