The Nov. 29 editorial “Stop mixing, start fixing Jordan Lake” stated that rules limiting new nutrient inputs into lakes “for protecting waterways have been effective” at curtailing algal blooms. They have not.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 8 percent of about 40,000 freshwaters with rules implemented prior to 2003 (to give time for recovery) are recovered. Most are small waterbodies dominated by point-source inputs. No impaired waterbody of at least 1,000 acres in size and 90-plus percent of nutrient input from nonpoint sources, like Jordan, has ever recovered.
Internal loading, or decades of “legacy” nutrients cycling between the sediment and water column, is the primary driver of algal blooms. Nutrients from atmospheric deposition and groundwater flow also contribute.
The Jordan Lake Rules, designed to reduce surface phosphorus inputs by only 5 percent at an estimated cost approaching $2 billion, would not curtail the blooms.
The Clean Water Act calls for treating impaired freshwaters and limiting inputs. Tools selected using more rigorous science and cost-benefit analysis are needed to restore Jordan Lake as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
H. Kenneth Hudnell
The writer is vice president and director of science with Medora Corp., the manufacturer of the SolarBee mixers now stirring Jordan Lake