A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Can we rescue Waverly Lake?

Written August 14th, 2014 by Hasso Hering
Looking across Waverly Lake; brambles in the foreground, algae in the middle.

Looking across Waverly Lake; brambles in the foreground, algae in the middle.

Thick gobs of algae in the water and sections of the banks overgrown with berry vines — these are among the reasons why Waverly Lake is no longer a great spot for angling, the Albany City Council has been told, and something should be done.

Ed Hahn Jr. talked to the council.

Ed Hahn Jr. talked to the council.

The appeal came from Edgar Hahn Jr., who talked to the council during the public comment period on Wednesday. He’s lived in Albany since 1949 and as a boy used to spend a lot of time angling on the banks of Waverly Lake, a former gravel pit which by then had become home of the annual Albany Timber Carnival.

In recent years, the banks have become overgrown, rocks on the banks can become slippery in the winter, and late in the summer — like now — much of the water is covered with the slime of algae. Hahn says that if he caught he fish from that muck, he wouldn’t eat it. He asked the council to consider cleaning out the lake with a dredge, to clear the banks for easier angling access, and to increase the flow in Cox Creek to fush out the water now and then, or to install aerators.

The muck near the bank up close.

The muck near the bank up close.

Waverly Lake is said to cover about 5 acres in 20-acre Waverly Park. In recent summers and again this year, the city rents out paddle boats. But judging from the areas clogged with surface growth on Thursday, only about two-thirds of the pond was easily navigable with these craft.

Mayor Sharon Konopa told Hahn she would ask the parks director, Ed Hodney, to consider Hahn’s suggestions and see if anything could be done. She said the city is limited in how much water it can channel down Cox Creek, which also feeds several other ponds upstream, all of which become stagnant when the summer gets hot.

Hahn has a point, though. Like other local ponds such as Timber Lake and Freeway Lakes, Waverly is not really much of a lake. But to preserve what little “lakeness” it has, we we ought to do what can be done to prevent it from silting up and to keep the algae down. (hh)

4 responses to “Can we rescue Waverly Lake?”

  1. Brian Holman says:

    I’ve lived here for 45 years and Waverly Lake has long been a landmark and welcoming entrance to all folks coming off of I-5 from the north. Western Kraft used to be the #1 landmark for passersby, but Waverly Lake is the entrance to our city for everyone to remember. When something like this gets neglected or becomes an eyesore, it’s a real shame and embarrassment for a city, especially historically significant, geographically centered, and county seated to not take care of it. Thanks for bringing this issue up and let’s give Waverly Lake what it needs!

  2. Hazel Siebrecht says:

    Viewed from Pacific or Salem Road, the lake is eye-catching and impressive…from a distance. With the beautiful landscaping, it is a welcoming sight! I doubt many cities have an attraction that matches this. We have walked the trail around it but the duck poop makes it a less than enjoyable experience.

  3. Bob Woods says:

    Of course it can be saved, but no one should think that is not going to cost anything.

    Algae blooms have a couple of key components – water temperature and nutrient load. Often phosphorous runs into streams as a result of fertilizers being used on adjacent lands.

    First, determine the source and scope of the problem. Then figure out the mitigation costs and approaches.

    Ultimately it will probably require a willingness of people to pay. The anti-government regulars will probably start more petition drives to prevent anyone from doing anything if there are any costs involved.

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    The city would rather put our money into Talking Waters. That’s a place few go to because it’s an out of the way.


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