Friday, September 30, 2016

Hoyt Lake Closed to Recreation

According to the news, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has confirmed the presence of a harmful algae bloom in Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park. Yesterday, Buffalo's Department of Public Works began installing signs in Delaware Park notifying park patrons that "recreational water activities have been suspended until further notice. That includes no swimming, no boating, no fishing and no pets in the water."

First question - who in their right mind would have been trying to swim in Hoyt Lake even *before* they announced the existence of the algal bloom?? The dead fish and the horrible smell at the Forest Lawn end of the lake should have put anyone off long before this.

And then WIVB had this puzzling statement "The algae still has to go, but fixing the water in Hoyt Lake will require fixing the Scajaquada Creek, which no longer runs continuously through the city."


I have no idea why this Google map image shows the Lake as dark brown. That is really, really weird.

The creek still runs through the city - I took the bridge right over it this morning on the way to campus. I assume that this is an utterly mangled reference to the fact that Hoyt Lake is an artificial feature that is disconnected from the creek. The Scajaquada flows through Forest Lawn Cemetery then enters a short tunnel through a debris-collection grate. The tunnel runs through the park, bypassing Hoyt Lake, and the creek reemerges at the western end of Hoyt Lake, where is separated from the Mirror Lake section of the Lake by a cement wall. During high precipitation events water from the lake overflows the wall into the creek.

Smelly section of creek where it enters the tunnel that goes under the park

Apparently when Frederick Law Olmsted originally designed 'The Park' his 'Gala Lake' feature was connected to the creek and there were small wetlands at either end. But during construction of the 198 expressway (I think - the story is actually quite hard to follow) the Lake was cut off.

Aerial view of Delaware Lake and North Bay in 1938, before
reshaping and construction of the Scajaquada Expressway

A $50k fountain was installed at the Forest Lawn Cemetery end of the lake in 2013, partly in order to help aerate the water in the lake. It is refilled using a fire hydrant when the water level drops so there is extremely limited flow in the lake. However, the pump for the fountain broke (again) this summer which lead to an earlier period of algae and stink.  The lake was reportedly blue again at the end of August, but now - more algae.  I confess - I usually don't notice if the fountain is going or not.  I am usually to busy paying attention to traffic there so most of this summer's drama played out unnoticed by me.

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