Study: Rogers Lake Water Quality Shows Improvement
St. Thomas Academy study gives water at Rogers Lake higher marks than last year.
The lake’s water received a “Good” rating of 75.43, an improvement from last year’s score of 70.7.
A score of 90-100 indicates excellent quality; the “good” range is 70-89.9.
Four students—Drew Applebaum, Connor Bonk, Parker Chapman and Danny Baer—along with environmental science teacher Tony Kinzley, presented the findings.
Applebaum described the lake as a "cornerstone of the ecosystem" in Mendota Heights. "It's also a source of beauty for the community," said Applebaum.
Students test six sites around the lake throughout the fall, gathering over a 1,000 pieces of data to establish their average readings.
The lake showed healthy levels in six of nine categories, said Bonk, including fecal coliform, nitrates and pH.
Three categories—biochemical oxygen demand (use of oxygen by bacteria), phosphates and total solids—registered just under the threshold for concern, and Baer said they want to see those measures drop to a healthier level next year.
Like last year, the report recommends property owners along the lake establish a buffer zone of natural vegetation.
City Engineer John Mazzitello said the city's wetland ordinances provide a recommendation to maintain a buffer area, but do not prescribe a set distance because of the variations between properties. Mazzitello said that staff recommends at least 25 feet of buffer zone.
Residents in the neighborhood, not just along the lake, can help improve water quality by being careful with fertilizer applications, cleaning up animal waste and collecting yard clippings for proper disposal, said Chapman.
The testing period for this report coincided with the completion of the Wagon Wheel Trail reconstruction. Chapman said they are hopeful that the improved curb and drainage system now in place may prevent things like road salt and runoff fertilizer from entering the lake, which could improve readings in future years.