–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 13, 2020
For nearly 60 years visitors, walkers, ducks, Canadian geese, fish, frogs, turtles and birds of all kinds have been enjoying Acacia Lake located in the heart of Toledo Memorial Park, 6382 Monroe St., Sylvania. “The lake has been a focal point for those who regularly make TMP their walking venue. And, it also serves as a tranquil setting for those visiting the graves of loved ones,” noted Toledo Memorial Park President and CEO Jeff Clegg. “Several people have also found this to be the place where they scatter the cremains of their loved ones.”
The lake also serves as an ideal habitat for wildlife including frogs, turtles, toads several varieties of fish along with ducks and geese.
However, this serene setting became somewhat less than ideal over the past three years or so. “Our grounds crew noticed the appearance of algae in the lake, which prompted us to take action. We consulted with environmental water treatment specialists and began treating the problem naturally with enzymes that would not harm the wildlife. We do not use any chemically treated fertilizers or pesticides in the park so we would not use anything harmful in the lake,” Clegg assured.
Over time, the algae continued to bloom despite the efforts to contain the issue. Complaints from people coming to the park kept piling up and Clegg and the Board of Trustees decided they would have to drain the lake to eliminate the smelly and unsightly water.
“The number of engineers with whom we consulted all said that draining the lake was our only solution,” Clegg explained. He said that when the lake was excavated in the mid 1960s, the construction crew hit bedrock after digging for only six feet or so. The shallowness of the lake is one of the main contributors to the algae growth. In addition, many people including school groups, come to the park to feed the ducks and geese. According to Clegg, all of the bread is not necessarily consumed and ends up in the bottom of the lake where the yeast from the bread is also a major contributor to algae growth.
To help with these factors, solar aerators have been installed in the lake to keep the water moving, which will help to eliminate algae growth. “We are also posting signs around the lake encouraging duck and geese feeders to use birdseed, chopped lettuce, half-cut seedless grapes, peas, corn or oats rather than bread, which does not contain the nutrition needed. Then ducks and geese think they are full and they don’t eat what they require to stay healthy,” Clegg warned.
Earlier in the summer, when the Ten Mile Creek was very low, the draining process began. Stone and silt screening fabric were set around the drain ensuring that all materials were filtered from the water before it flowed into the creek. “We were certainly aware of the sensitive nature of our task and we did everything possible to retain all of the sediment from the water,” Clegg offered. All of the fish and other aquatic wildlife were netted and transported to TMP’s Willow Lake, located in the undeveloped section of the park. The scattering edges of Acacia Lake were relocated to the center as the consulting engineers also advised reshaping of the lake to help eliminate future problems.
Water is beginning to fill the cleaned out lake bed and ducks and geese have found their way back. According to Clegg, fish will soon be calling the clean Acacia Lake home. “While we could not make the lake any deeper, we have put several measures in place to keep the water clean and healthy. We trust that those feeding the ducks and geese will leave bread at home and follow the recommended guidelines for a healthy wildlife diet,” Clegg encouraged.
“Now we are getting ‘thank you for taking care of the lake,’ comments from guests,” Clegg said. “One visitor said he was delighted that his wife’s cremains were now in a healthy, clean place and he is now okay with the lake because that is where he plans to have his ashes scattered too.”