The waters of Moses Lake are the heart of our community, and the preservation of the lake for present and future generations was one of the reasons behind the 1st Annual “State of Our Lake” public meeting.
The Moses Lake Watershed Council is a collaborative initiative led by local and county government entities and interested citizens, with support from state and federal agencies. Senators Tom Dent and Judy Warnick were essential in bringing these organizations together in 2018 to address concerns regarding blue-green algae.
The “State of Our Lake” provided an update to the general public on the status of Moses Lake’s water quality and provided additional information about toxic blue-green algae. The meeting also provided an avenue for the public to learn what is being done to better understand, improve and protect the quality of water in Moses Lake.
The Moses Lake Watershed Council is made up of the following entities:
Allison Williams, City Manager, City of Moses Lake
Bill Bailey, Board Member, Moses Lake Irrigation & Rehabilitation District
Harold Crose, Resource Conservationist, Columbia Basin Conservation District
Kristina Ribellia, Executive Director, Columbia Basin Conservation District
Kelsey Jacobs, Environmental Health Specialist, Grant County Health District
Lynne Lynch, Commissioner, Grant County Tourism Commission
Amanda Richardson, Water Quality Program, Washington State Department of Ecology
Gina Goff, Water Quality Specialist and Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Ty Swartout, Citizen Representative
Harold Crose, chair of the watershed council and resource conservationist for Columbia Basin Conservation District, chaired the meeting and gave a detailed update on the history of the Moses Lake Watershed while also describing a vision of the future progress we can make.
Historically speaking, the quality of the water within Moses Lake has improved over the last fifty years. An update was given on the levels of phosphorus within Moses Lake, which is the number one contributor to harmful algae blooms. According to Amanda Richardson, the harmful algae blooms is a condition that is not unique to Moses Lake and is actually happening in lakes across the State of Washington and the country at large. Kelsey Jacobs provided safety guidelines to the public on toxic blue-green algae; including the toxin microcystin, the safety limits of the water quality, and activities to avoid.
The Columbia Basin Conservation District is currently compiling a lake management plan and a watershed management plan. These plans are intended to address multiple areas of the lake, including all the sources of phosphorus, such as runoff and leakage. Representative Dan Newhouse is helping secure an additional $3.1 million to help reduce phosphorus.
Addressing and preventing the sources of phosphorus throughout the Watershed and within Moses Lake are the prioritized solutions we are working towards. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington State Department of Ecology do have sources of additional funding that can be pursued for ongoing water quality projects and irrigation improvements. The Columbia Basin Conservation District has acquired and continues to pursue these funding sources to help achieve our goals in improving the quality of the watershed.
Finally, the “State of Our Lake” allowed the public to ask questions and voice concerns that they have about Moses Lake, in turn giving the Moses Lake Watershed Council an opportunity to answer those questions and address those concerns. Our goal is to show the public what they can do to help our cause, at home, in the community, and on the water.