A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Waverly Lake algae: How about this idea?

Written July 3rd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The Waverly Duck floats in a sea of algal muck on Sunday, July 3.

Like every summer in recent years, Albany’s Waverly Lake is now covered by a growing mass of algae on the surface of the pond. In the fall the algae will die and disappear, and by winter they’ll be gone.

But in winter, who cares what the lake looks like? It’s in the summer that Waverly Park and the lake draw visitors. It is now through the middle of August that this little lake at the northern gateway to Albany looks like an unsightly mess.

Back in 2014, on Aug. 13 to be exact, longtime Albany resident Ed Hahn Jr. spoke to the city council and complained about the condition of the lake. He urged that something be done.

But by September that year, the rafts of algae had pretty much disappeared and the problem had taken care of itself, as it does every year. The issue of cleaning up Waverly Lake or trying to prevent the annual summertime algae bloom did not come before the council again.

Nutrients in the more or less stagnant water, warm days and sunshine all contribute to the growth of algae. There are ways of preventing this, but presumably they cost money and as far as I know are not on the agenda of Albany parks.

How about another approach?

Waverly Lake has a water surface of a little more than 6 acres. (That’s an estimate based on measurements derived from a tool on Google Maps,) The lake is not so huge that manual removal of algae is out of the question.

Online, companies sell “pond rakes” designed for cleaning up algae. The rakes cost about $120 each. The city could buy a few and then invite volunteers with personal watercraft to tow them around the lake. If the online rake ads tell the truth, the algae would be gone. (hh)

A couple on a paddle boat heads out into the algae on Waverly Lake Sunday afternoon.





16 responses to “Waverly Lake algae: How about this idea?”

  1. Ajae says:

    Great idea! I would volunteer. I don’t want to be on the lake with all of that unsightly algae!

  2. MarK says:

    I think the city has given up. If you think Waverly Lake looks bad, take a look at East Thornton Lake.

  3. TLH-ALB1 says:

    Who remembers when we had field burning and didn’t have this problem?

    You can thank the greenies for the burn bans and the resulting heavy use of fertilizers on the fields.

    Cox Creek runs thru the heart of rye grass fields; a major agricultural crop that supports the local and state economies.

  4. John Hartman says:

    The trick is to think of the algae not as unsightly, but simply as part of the natural order. Theists could claim that since god made everything, knows everything and controls everything that the algae are simply part of god’s plan. We humans, as the tired trope goes, are unable to comprehend god’s mysterious ways. Devout non-theists could grab onto the scientific reasons why algae appears each summer, deriving satisfaction from the facts rather than dwell on the so-called ugliness the algae produces in the normal course of events.

    The algae bloom is nothing out of the ordinary, nor is it particularly concerning. The only “reason” humans think the algae is ugly is because of some fantasy in the human brain that believes that nature’s expression is ugly. This cultural conditioning is not the algae’s fault. Rather, the fault lies in the observer…typical for the restless human demanding a largely unattainable outcomes.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Based on your reply….

      Don’t mow or weed your lawn. Don’t remove the moss on your roof or trim your trees and bushes.

      It’s not nature’s fault that things grow. It’s your brain’s fault for thinking that nature’s expression is ugly.

      Don’t worry about God’s response. I doubt she even cares one way or the other.

      But how do you convince city government to change its thinking and not give you a ticket for being a nuisance (AMC 7.84.130)?

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “But how do you convince city government to change its thinking and not give you a ticket for being a nuisance (AMC 7.84.130)?”

        It’s very simple. You convince 4 sitting councilors that it’s in the best interest of the city to do so.

  5. Todd says:

    What a great idea. Such a beautiful, well maintained park except the lake. I would be interested.

  6. Richard Vannice says:

    What are you going to do with or put the algae that is raked off the lake? Remember every answer should elicit more questions.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Good question. I know what I did with the pond scum my daughters brought home occasionally, but my eradication method probably wouldn’t work for Waverly Lake….

  7. centrist says:

    Sometimes stuff just happens. That seems to overwind control-issue folks.
    Let it be, let it be……

  8. Bob Bush says:

    Kinda like birds crapping on the sidewalks…….no one likes it…..it’s just nature. Wasn’t one of our colleges experimenting with algae for fuel??….What happened with that???…..Get that water circulating….up in the air around and around….I think that would help…..at least it always did in the cow tank.

  9. James Uerlings says:

    Excellent idea.

  10. Dala Rouse says:

    Pull it out and compost it. It makes excellent organic fertilizer according to my husband’s nephew as that is what he does with his pond in Washington. Maybe some organic farmer would be interested in it. The city is composting sewer sludge now and may have some ideas on how to treat the algae for composting.


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