The Moses Lake Watershed Council (Council) includes Grant County Conservation District, Grant County Health District, Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District, City of Moses Lake and the Department of Ecology. The Council was formed in late 2018 to seek solutions to water quality concerns in not only Moses Lake but the entire watershed. Recently, many calls and social media posts have been directed to the Moses Lake Watershed Council and its members. The recent posting by the Grant County Health District (GCHD) has many citizens looking for answers. The water quality postings have an impact on the quality of life for all of us as well as many visitors to Moses Lake and the many businesses that depend on tourism.
One problem is cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) blooms. Moses Lake experiences these blooms when water temperatures and nutrients provide the ideal environment for the blooms. The GCHD takes water samples throughout the summer to monitor the toxicity of these blooms. When levels that may be hazardous to people and animals are found, the GCHD posts warnings to avoid contact with the water. Refer to the Washington State Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov.
The conditions are not new. Research shows that for many decades, perhaps centuries, Moses Lake has had similar levels of algae blooms. In fact, many long-term residents will attest that levels are much lower than in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
The Council is currently studying historic approaches, like dilution, dredging, alum, carp, and nutrient loading within the watershed, as well as new science and technologies that when implemented will improve and maintain a higher water quality over time.
The Council held an introductory public meeting May 15th at City Hall to discuss water quality issues affecting the Moses Lake watershed. The presentation included discussions on the history of water quality in the lake, algae bloom causes and effects, potential treatments, and some of the challenges facing the Council. Time was set aside for public input, presentations by members, and a look at future actions the council intends to pursue. The entire presentation can be found on the Grant County Conservation District website at ColumbiaBasinCds.org.
Since the public meeting, the Council has continued to meet and recently developed a Strategic Plan. The Council is taking seriously the water quality in the entire Moses Lake watershed and is seeking partnerships and funding to assist in resolving the issues. The plan will be made public via media announcements as well as on the Council members websites once finalized.
The next public meeting will be held October 23, 2019, 6:00-8:00 PM at the City of Moses Lake Council Chambers. To sign-up to receive emails about upcoming public meetings and newsletters, visit the Grant County Conservation District website – ColumbiaBasinCds.org.