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|Is It The Geese?|
The Missouri Deparment of Natural Resources presented the above plaque to LOWA in 2008 in appreciation of the outstanding work perforemed by the LOWA volunteers during the 2007 sampling program.
DNR and Missouri-Ameren initated a five-year lake water sampling program intended to get a picture of the whole lake relative to the presence of the marker bacteria Ecoli. Ecoli is present in all warm-blooded animals. There are literally hundreds of different species of Ecoli and only a very few are toxic to humans. However, if the Ecoli count is high it increases the odds of such bacteria being present and it indicates contamination of the lake either from human or other warm-blooded animal sources.
As originally planned, the available funds would allow for only a relatively few samples each year. However, LOWA volunteers stepped in and offered to do the actual water sample collections for DNR. This allowed for the number of samples, and therefore the statistical validity, of the sampling program to be increased by several fold.
Year 2011 will commence the fifth and final year of the originally planned study. Results show the Lake of the Ozarks to contain very clean water. Results also confirmed that Ecoli bacteria counts will increase in the Lake water following heavy rains. ...read more
Read About the Water Quality Controversy Issue at the Lake Did the media over-state the problem?
John Schumacher with the US Geological Survey attended the Monday, June 18 meeting of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance, LOWA, at Tan Tara in Osage Beach. Schumacher reported that the University of Missouri Science and Technology has been conducting an ongoing study about E. coli at the beaches of the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, since last fall.
Schumacher and graduate students have been coming down to the Lake to sample the water and the sands around public beaches three to four times a week. Several sites at and around each public beach as well as an additional site at an undeveloped shoreline off of a point on the main channel, used for a comparison/reference point, are being sampled. According to Schumacher, geese seemed to have been more numerous last fall than they have been this spring.
In this study, more sites at the beach areas and at sites around the beach areas are being sampled and they are being sampled by several methods including; by boat, by stirring up the water, and at different depths and distances from the shoreline, as well as sampling other sites around the beach areas. In addition to sampling the water and measuring E. coli, this USGS study is als o conducting a rainfall/runoff study, if it ever rains, and they will be doing some DNA source tracking of Bacteroides found in the water.
Collection of most environmental samples (water, air, soil) is based on scientific principles. The data obtained from analyzing environmental samples is only as good as the procedures and techniques used to collect them. The basics of collecting a surface water sample for analysis of Escherichia coli (E. coli) are presented here.
This study was a great experiment in collaboration between MO Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) and LOWA and it was funded at $15,000 per year for the 5 years through a fine levied on Ameren for fish kills related to the area of LOZ below Truman Dam. DNR designed the study, chose the sites, analyzed the data, and reported the results. LOWA provided volunteer water collectors so that more sites could be tested each year.
Each year, the samples were collected monthly, May – October. Each individual site was sampled 3 times in alternating months (except in the last year where, because there were only half as many coves, each site was sampled each month for a total of 6 sampling events per site). A total of 1619 samples were collected over the 5-year period and 52 teams with over 75 volunteers were involved.
In 2007, the area from Bagnell Dam to the Community Toll Bridge was sampled. In 2008, samples went from the toll bridge to Linn Creek. Then in 2009, Linn Creek to Hurricane Deck (34 mm) and both Nianguas were sampled. Hurricane Deck to Rainy Creek (60 mm) were sampled in 2010 and then in 2011, the upper reaches of the Lake from the 60 mm to Truman Dam were sampled.
Results of the sampling were reported in terms of the number of E. coli colonies counted per 100 milliliters of water (MPN/100mL) with low numbers being good and high numbers bringing red flags of warning. Levels of concern fall into two categories – a single grab sample number and a geometric mean (a geometric mean is a way of calculating an average when some of the data is either very high or very low). If a single grab sample is over 235 MPN/100 mL, a red flag of warning comes up and public safety concerns arise. And, if the geometric mean for 5 or more samples is over 126 MPN/100mL, concerns arise there too.
The following shows the geometric mean for each year of the study. Units are in MPN per 100 ml (most probable number of colonies per 100 milliliters of sample):
Then for the other category, in looking at the single grab sample maximum of 235 MPN/100 mL, during the entire study of 1619 samples, only 43 samples exceeded 235. That was 2.7% of all the samples and 29 (67%) of these 43 samples were collected in May, 2009 following several days of extremely heavy rainfall.
In summary, E. coli levels in LOZ are typically low. From experience, we know that levels will likely increase following heavy rainfall regardless of location or level of development in the area. And, some isolated sites did produce one or more high readings. Those high readings in close proximity to a permitted wastewater facility were investigated further by DNR staff. In only one instance was a treatment facility found to be a potential contributing factor.
At the Feb 19 2008 LOWA Public Meeting, Greg Stoner presented an update on the presence of zebra mussels in the Lake of the Ozarks. At that point in time, their presence was confirmed and expected proliferation was a great concern. They did spread and did grow into a major problem. But now, for some strange reason, the zebra mussel population has significantly declined and they appear to bo no longer a problem. For a detailed discussion on the current status of the Zebra mussels in the Lake of the Ozarks, see Joyce Miller's article in the July 8, 2011 Lake News On-line
At that February meeting of 2008, Greg Stoner presented a very informative power point presentation on Zebra mussels. The file is quite long, about 7MB, but if you wish to know more about Zebra mussels,see the Power Point Presentation on Zebra Mussels or read his discussion which is contained in the minutes of the LOWA February 2008 Public Meeting
The LMVP (Lakes of Missouri Volunteers Program) newsletter is online and : ready to read. Article topics include:
When collecting samples from a dock or boat, try to avoid disturbing algae clinging to the sides that might enter your sample container.
Come for the next clean-up if you can and have a good time in the process. LOWA Volunteers Had Successful Clean-up In 2008, 2009, 2010,and 2011
LOWA Volunteers Have Helped Clean the Shoreline for the last three years.
LOWA VOLUNTEERS Cleaned 10 Miles of shoreline in 2007, 2008,2009,2010 and 2011.
LOWA adopted the shoreline from the 9 to 10 mile marker and volunteers are to be congratulated.
The Jefferson City News Tribune reported on February 28, 2010 that the report by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee has resulted in the proposing of two new pieces of legislation Committee Chairman Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, filed legislation Thursday that would transfer the department's (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) water-testing duties to the state health department and require the results to be publicly released within 48 hours. Committee member Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, filed legislation that would require counties around the Lake of the Ozarks to adopt plumbing codes for homes and businesses.Read LOWA's Feb.15,2010 Press Release
Nixon and Templeton Announce "Massive, Unprecedented Water Quality Enforcement Effort at Lake of the Ozarks and
Read the December 2009 Report of Phase I of that initiative.
A coalition of business and local government groupshas joined forces to protect the lake from un-warranted bad publicity by initiating an educational campaign. See their website at http://www.lakewaterquality.org/ .
(the following information was extracted from KRMS Radio On-Line Written by Michael McSorley, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:35)
Governor Jay Nixon and MoDNR Director Mark Templeton announced a Lake of the Ozarks water quality enforcement effort today.
Starting immediately the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will implement a four step policy.
The governor and the director outlined a four point plan at the Pa He Tsi boat ramp Wednesday afternoon that they say will be completed by the end of the year.
The below email letter was sent to the West Chamber of Commerce:
My name is Stan Schultz and I am a partner in Schultz & Summers Engineering, Inc. Our Lake office was originally in Laurie but it is now located in Osage Beach. The chamber supported my largest client at the Lake, the Gravois Arm Sewer District, when it was asking for $30 million in bonding 7 years ago to start building sewers in the unincorporated area of the west side of the Lake. Your support was very valuable to our eventual success. We are presently finishing our Phase II project and will have about 400 customers at project completion. Phase III is already partially funded with a $1 million congressional appropriation and will add over 200 more customers when completed. The Gravois board is to be commended on their determination and dedication. They refuse to take ‘NO’ for an answer from the funding agencies and have won funding in some tough times.
I have been a participant in many activities at the Lake promoting centralized sewers in the last 7 years and that has led to my association with the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance. LOWA approached me several months ago about helping them with water quality issues and I attended a couple small gatherings to brainstorm on how to be proactive with centralized sewers at the Lake. The issues are complicated and challenging at best. I asked attorney Bill McCaffree to help and he has enthusiastically agreed to provide legal advice to the effort. You will know Bill from his work with the Gravois Sewer District, the City of Laurie, and the Village of Sunrise Beach.
Most recently, LOWA asked me to author one of their two DNR 319 grant applications. The application I authored will accomplish the necessary water quality testing at the Lake to determine what human effects, if any, are contaminating the Lake and/or the local aquifer. Before writing the grant request I reviewed three reports on the Lake’s water quality accomplished in 1985, 1996, and 1999. All three made the statement that the geology at the Lake and the Lake’s aging septic tanks are reasons untreated sewer is able to enter the Lake and its shallow drinking water aquifer. However, none of the reports backed up their statements with any test data. The 1985 report cited a 1981 study conducted by the City of Osage Beach that found elevated levels of nitrates in private water wells. The 1981 study was accomplished for Osage Beach as part of its effort to secure about $14 million in grant funding to build its first central sewer system.
I feel strongly that LOWA is the organization that can organize and promote a lakewide sewer authority that will be able to promote special legislation to make the Lake eligible for large government appropriations to start building a system of ‘hub and spoke’ sewer systems in the most needed areas of the Lake. LOWA has a good relationship with the Governor, DNR, EPA, local and regional news outlets, and newspapers across the Midwest. I believe strongly that the business community should organize an effort to support them and Governor Nixon. The positive publicity a united effort will create will help tourism at the Lake and promote good will with our regulators.
I have spent many hours researching how the Lake could have 40,000 septic tanks without an organized effort to try and get them on central sewer. What I believe I have discovered is the Lake area is so large that it does not have the appropriate structure in place to speak with one voice to our political and agency leaders on water quality issues. LOWA can be the ‘voice’ that the Lake is missing. LOWA desperately needs the Lake’s business leaders to unite with them in their efforts to promote the Lake and help it receive special attention from our state and federal leaders.
Missouri is a unique state. It offers great cities but, I firmly believe its most valuable asset are the waterways that make their way through the state. Water is an attraction that many of our neighboring states do not have. We have to realize this and go to work protecting our waterways so that recreation remains an important part of Missouri’s economy.
Please contact me at your convenience should you have questions.
Stanley J. Schultz, P.E., R.L.S.
Schultz & Summers Engineering, Inc.