waskington state lake images
February, 2024

Community science efforts help assess water quality threats to Lake Coeur d’Alene

by Madison Schumacher, Environmental Science Master’s Candidate, University of Idaho

It’s 5 a.m., and the sun’s first rays are emerging over the mountain peaks, casting a gentle warmth upon us on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the gem lake of northern Idaho.

“Driver, do you copy?” I inquire via the two-way radio, batting away pesky mosquitoes in the soft morning glow at Blackwell Island.

“I hear you,” crackles the radio. “We’re positioned for the 400-foot pass, and we’re ready whenever you are!” Bob responds. He’s a dedicated local community scientist volunteer contributing to our research, and our trusted boat driver for the day.

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Apply for 2024 WALPA student scholarships!

In 2024, the Washington Lakes Protection Association is offering three student scholarships:

  • The Nancy Weller Memorial Scholarship to a Ph.D. graduate student for $1,250.
  • The Dave Lamb Memorial Scholarship to a M.Sc. graduate student for $1,000.
  • The WALPA scholarship to an undergraduate student for $500.

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Algae wars: battling blooms at Spanaway Lake

By Katie Sweeney and Tim Clark, Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Spanaway Lake is a 251-acre lake in Pierce County that has long suffered from toxic algae blooms. Toxic blooms in Spanaway Lake are predominantly made up of two types of cyanobacteria, Microcystis and Dolichospermum, both of which produce the liver toxin microcystin. Since cyanotoxin monitoring began in 2007, microcystin concentrations have exceeded the state recreational guideline of 8 parts per billion (ppb) every year except 2012 and 2014, restricting lake uses and greatly impacting the lake community. It became clear to residents, visitors, and Pierce County managers that control of algae was necessary for the future protection and enjoyment of Spanaway Lake.

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Save the date: Lakeside Dialogues – a virtual town hall

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WALPA news and notes from the President-elect

by Angela Strecker

Washington State Lake Protection AssociationMy name is Angela Strecker and I am the new President-elect of WALPA. In my professional work, I am the Director of the Institute for Watershed Studies and Professor at Western Washington University. My research interests are broadly around how humans impact freshwater communities and ecosystems. You can read more about me here. I look forward to meeting more of our members in the year to come!


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NYC monitors source waters with YSI buoys


Monitoring for water quality in source waters can have a profound and positive impact on drinking water treatment. The benefits can range from better-tasting water to overall reduction in treatment costs. Water quality affects the efficiency of water treatment processes and informs facility operators as to how processes might be adjusted to adequately treat incoming water. Over time, water quality data can be used for understanding trends and developing correlations between water quality and treatment requirements.

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