Water-Related News

Timing perfect for cleanup of dirty Lake Trout

Trout Lake, which hosts a nature center used by thousands of Lake County schoolchildren every year, is one disgusting mess and has been for years.

Last year, children learning about animals in the water at the Trout Lake Nature Center had to wear latex gloves to avoid a type of toxic algae known to kill cattle that drink water that has it. Isn’t that a lovely thing to teach a kid?

“It’s pretty sad when the lake they’re sampling is one of the worst, and a lot of the species they want to study are not even present there,” said Linda Bystrak, a biologist and longtime water advocate. “I wouldn’t eat the fish that came out of it, and I wouldn’t put a kayak in it, that’s for damn sure.”

Now, the nearly dead lake is about to get a second chance at life, and the Lake County Water Authority has a rare opportunity to measure empirically whether the effort works.

Trout Lake is a small water body — just 100 acres close to State Road 19 and County Road 44, north of Eustis. The water authority three years ago commissioned a study of two other water bodies along with Trout Lake, which most of the time is considered “hypertrophic” — a polite technical word for “dead.”

The results of the study, which came in last week, are sickening. Trout Lake rated 70 or above from 1993 to 2015 on the total health of the lake in a scoring system that considers any lake over 50 to be in serious trouble.