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'Let's work together': Advocacy group urging new partnership to fix Lake Munson

Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-04 17:30:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Working to clean up Lake Munson. As county efforts to restore the lake continue, one advocacy group is calling for more to be done and a new partnership to be made with local universities.

Sharon Gray has lived in the Forest Edge neighborhood, right next to Lake Munson, since 1970.

"I walk down occasionally. I love the cypress tress. It's a beautiful lake and I would like to see it pristine," said Gray.
"The lake was already compromised. There were don't eat the fish advisories. There were don't get in the water advisories."

Since then, Leon County Commissioners have worked to restore the health of the Lake.

County Commissioner Christian Caban said in the last three decades, the county has spent over $290 million to restore the lake. Now, they're continuing to do more.

"We went from quarterly testing to monthly testing," said Caban. "We unanimously, in my direction, have aerial topographic surveys being done quarterly. We extended the draw down."

Even though the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said, "Sediment nutrient removal for total phosphorous can be accomplished at low cost via the lake drawdown," Terry Ryan doesn't think it's enough.

"Convince the county to consider different alternatives," said Ryan. "Stop the draw down which is needless and taking time and go from there."

Ryan Co-Founded the Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group. That basin stretches beyond the lake, including Southeast Tallahassee.

He said the county should consider dredging the lake to help remove some of the phosphorous chemicals causing harmful algae blooms. This is another recommendation, along with further studies, the Florida DEP is making; "Due to enriched phosphorus in the system, an aggressive restoration tool would be needed to accomplish a further reduction in the system."

Ryan is urging the county to partner with Odemaria Mbuya and a team of scientists from Florida A&M University's Center for Water Resources to do more testing and find a better solution.

"Chemicals like phosphorous are in the sludge, in the sediments, so I don't believe a draw down will solve the problem," said Mbuya. "I thnk one of the problems though if we are to move the sludges is where do we dispose it?"

Disposing the sludge is a concern of Caban's, that's why he thinks the current plan is best.

"I believe the practices that we are doing for Lake Munson is the safest and the best for Lake Munson and the surrounding community."

Either way, Gray believes restoring the lake is not an easy feat.

"The clean up of the lake, no matter what approach is taken, is complicated," said Gray.

Even though they may have different opinions on how to get the lake fixed, Ryan said restoring the lakes former beauty is everyone's priority; connecting neighbors from southwest to southeast Tallahassee.

"Restore it to a recreational area where fishing can happen, people can go out on a regular basis to do boating activities and so on," said Ryan.

Caban said the next update on water quality and amount of sediments in the lake will be presented at the county commission meeting on September 12th. You can check out their interactive map of reports on the lake at anytime online.