Crescent Lake From 39,000 Feet
Here is a story that will give you a little different “view” of Crescent Lake… a “view” from 39,000 feet!
Charlie Peterson is the son of Glen and Mary Peterson. He is a Senior Captain flying the Boeing 777 for United Airlines based at Chicago’s O’Hare Field (ORD). He has been flying with UAL 32 years. Early in his career he also flew A-7’s for 11 years with the Iowa Air National Guard while at the same time flying with United.
Captain Peterson currently flies 80% of his flights nonstop to China (Hong Kong and Beijing) and Tokyo. The other 20% of his flight time is spent cruising to Honolulu. The Far East flights go north to and from ORD over northern Wisconsin to the east or west of Rhinelander on the Polar route and on either side of the North Pole. (Not a bad gig!)
On Thursday, February 9th at 3:45 PM, he was returning to ORD after a 15 hour flight from Beijing at 39,000 feet and 8 miles west of Crescent Lake when he took the picture from his left seat cockpit window with his iPad and sent it to his parents two minutes later.
He has flown close to or nearby Rhinelander (RHI) numerous times but this was one time the visibility was very clear.
Charlie has been coming to Crescent Lake since 1972 as a 12 year old boy and knows the lake quite well.
His father, Glen, retired from UAL after spending 34 years in the cockpit.
At certain times of the year, a normally clear lake can appear green and not so clear. You’re seeing the presence of algae in the water. In a healthy lake, algae are critical to the balance of life. But, as in life in general, the rule is: Everything in moderation.
Algae are tiny plants that have no stem or leaves but usually contain chlorophyll. They may attach to submerged rocks and branches, or they may float freely in the water. Algae provide food for the tiny creatures (zooplankton) that the fry of our favorite fish love to eat.
Algae exist when all conditions are right: temperature, sunlight, water pH and the balance of nutrients. A critical nutrient is phosphorus. It must be present in precisely the right amount. Too little and the algae will not thrive. Too much and algae will “bloom.” That reduces the lake clarity, appeal and natural balance.
There are several kinds of algae. Tiny green spots floating in the water are fine. Dense mats of stringy brown or green matter near the surface are filamentous algae. They aren’t pleasant to look at, but they cause few problems.
The trouble can come in mid to late summer, when lakes too rich in nutrients experience blooms of blue-green algae. These organisms are really bacteria that form suddenly and grow rapidly. They create a thick blue-green mat near the surface, forming wavelike patterns in quiet water. During certain times in their life cycle, these bacteria produce powerful toxins that can make you and your pet sick.
So, get to know the natural cycles of your lake. Know when to expect the welcome presence of beneficial algae. Be aware of sudden changes in algae growth. Don’t be alarmed by the presence of tree pollen on the cold lake surface in late spring.
Join your shoreline neighbors to help keep lake phosphorus in equilibrium. Don’t use phosphorus fertilizers and keep your septic system in good working order. Tend to your natural “shoreline buffer.”
In balance, algae is a good thing. Healthy lake life depends on it but too much may be a sign of a lake under stress.
Did You Know?
Blue-green algae blooms can deplete oxygen in lakes and kill fish.
NOTE: This is one in a series of articles sponsored by OCLRA (www.oclra.org) and will be made available to you on this website over the next ten months… with a new article appearing approximately every two weeks. OCLRA encourages the use and distribution of this material by lake associations, their members and other parties concerned about water quality.
It’s “P” as in the chemical symbol for phosphorus, a nutrient that, in excessive amounts, can cause noxious algae blooms in lakes.
The headline comes from the education campaign in the New Hampshire town that encourages people to help keep phosphorus out of the water. It’s a good rule to follow on any lake.
What’s the trouble with phosphorus? Continue reading ‘• Don’t “P” in the Lake’
Your Lake is Aging. Help The Process Go Slowly.
From the time our lakes were formed by the glacier, they began to age. Over many thousands of years, every lake goes through a slow process in which plants grow and die, streams and runoffs bring in sediment and the lake bed fills in.
Some lakes age faster than others. For example, deep lakes with rocky bottoms and fed by groundwater springs tend to age very slowly. Shallow lakes with soft bottoms friendly to weed growth, and with streams flowing in tend to age faster.
One indicator of how fast a lake will age is its trophic state – how rich it is in nutrients that cause algae and weeds to grow. Scientists place lakes into three basic trophic states: oligotrophic, mesotrophic and eutrophic.
The basic difference between these lake types in the level of nutrients in the water. Development of homes and businesses tends to accelerate lake aging, as it can add nutrients through erosion, lawn fertilizer runoff and failing septic systems.
By following good management practices, each lake association and each property owner can help limit the addition of nutrients and let lakes age naturally – which is to say, more slowly.
Did You Know? Your septic system should be inspected each year and pumped out every three years to keep it working properly and protect lake water quality.
NOTE: This is one in a series of articles sponsored by OCLRA (www.oclra.org) and will be made available to you on this website over the next year. A new article will appear every month or so.