Popular Lake Gets Manmade Islands To Help Reduce Algae

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HARVEYS LAKE – Volunteers got their hands dirty by planting vegetation in manmade islands, which should help reduce algae blooms at a popular lake in Luzerne County.

Environmental Scientist Fred Lubnow told Newswatch 16 that five floating wetland islands will be anchored in no-wake zones in Harveys Lake, and they are capable of removing ten pounds of phosphorus each year.

"The island is made of recycled, frayed plastic material. And the stuff has a really high surface area that has a lot of nooks and crannies,” said Lubnow. "The whole goal is to take the nutrients from the bad plants and put it into the good plants.”

Sue Barre told Newswatch 16 that she just moved to Harveys Lake a few weeks ago, and she wanted to help out with the project to reduce algae.

"It`s pretty thick and it's become a problem over the years. I know other people out here who had a lot of algae on their shoreline. This will be a great improvement,” said Barre.” These are going to be put in no-wake zones and that’s going to be right in front of our house. So I love it.”

Longtime residents of the lakefront community said the algae problem has improved over the years at Harveys Lake.

"1980`s, 1990`s, it`s come a long way. We`re finally making a lot of progress eliminating the algae blooms that we used to have,” said Fran Kopko.

The Department of Environmental Protection says the islands are part of a long term cleanup project at Harveys Lake costing around $100,000, and the islands are expected to last for about ten years.

Organizers said goose netting will be put on top of the islands to prevent birds from eating the new vegetation, and reflectors will be added to alert boaters.