Aiding Blackmans Lake

SNOHOMISH – Since the city annexed Blackmans Lake in 2004, some have complained about silt that pours from nearby roads into the lake.

Now the city is asking people to pitch in to improve the situation. It’s seeking about 100 volunteers to plant shrubs and trees around the lake and its watershed on Oct. 28, City Councilwoman Lya Badgley said.

“It’s our responsibility. It’s time to get busy,” Badgley said Wednesday.

The city has set aside $5,000 to buy trees and shrubs including maple, cherry and cedar, Badgley said. They would serve as a buffer and reduce the amount of pollutants that drain into the lake.

The 60-acre lake at the city’s northern end has another issue. In winter, its water level crests and erodes some adjacent properties. In summer, it gets too low for trout to go deep so they can cool off.

“We don’t want the lake to get too low in summer,” said Bob Heirman, secretary of the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club. The club releases thousands of trout into the lake.

The city plans to hire a consultant for about $61,000 to study how to moderate fluctuations in the lake’s water levels. On Oct. 10, the city plans to hold a public meeting on the issue.

The water fluctuation issue is not unique to Blackmans Lake. At Lake Stevens, the water level is controlled by a low dam at the lake’s outlet.

Heirman, who has lived in Snohomish for more than 70 years, said the lake waxes and wanes substantially because houses have replaced a buffer of trees around the lake.

“What they’ve allowed is too much development,” he said.

There are about 370 houses in the north watershed of the lake, according to the city. Most of them have been built since 1981.

Rod Reynolds lives near the canal of the lake, which often gets murky with silt. He is not sure whether the city’s vegetation project will improve the lake’s water quality.

“I’m very skeptical,” he said.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or ynohara@heraldnet.com.

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