Door County News: Little Lake Update

The unofficial verdict on the water and sediment quality of Bradley Lake, known as Little Lake or the Duck Pond, is that it’s bad, but not so bad the health of the lake can’t be improved.

Studies on the flora and fauna of the lake determined there are a number of invasive species growing and breeding at a rapid rate. Results of the study, conducted by Gregory Kleinheinz and Stacy Hron of Miller Engineers & Scientists, recommended several action steps to clean up Bradley Lake: one was the physical removal of phragmites along the lake shore, another was removal of sediment.

Additional sediment testing is still being completed by Kleinheinz and Hron, according to Sturgeon Bay Alderman Ben Meyer, due to findings of arsenic in preliminary sediment tests.

“The researchers aren’t sure where the arsenic is coming from,” Meyer said. “There are mysterious things going on in Little Lake. It maintains its equilibrium even after big storms, which means water is flowing in and out, so there may be access to groundwater. We will have to be very careful with the removal of sediment that contains arsenic. It could drive up the cost of the project. I’m hoping the arsenic levels come back within some tolerance of safety so we can deal with this problem.”

The city still has plans for Little Lake this spring and summer, even if sediment removal is put on hold to deal with arsenic. Phragmites will be removed from the shores of Little Lake, and construction of a walking path around the lake will begin, Meyer said. City aldermen did agree to set aside money to construct a small wading beach, canoe and kayak launch area, and fishing platforms for shoreline fishing. These projects, along with the construction of forebays – storm water collection and filtration areas to clean out pollutants from runoff water – could be put on hold if the researchers determine the arsenic levels are higher than originally anticipated, and the city has to put a clean up plan into action.