Jones Lake in Lufkin, Texas Continues to ‘Green’ and Bear It
I feel your pain City of Lufkin. I have a pond on my property and the struggle with algae seems to be never-ending. However, this year's extreme heat and drought are just making it worse, and judging by the looks of Jones Lake, I'm not the only one frustrated by this issue.
Jones Lake is a 7-acre body of water that is home to fish, ducks, geese, the occasional alligator, and unfortunately several invasive species of algae. According to a press release from the City of Lufkin, over the past two years, the City has employed many algae removal techniques but unfortunately, none of those have worked as well as expected, according to Lufkin Parks & Recreation Director Rudy Flores.
“In the fall, we hired a company to physically remove the algae and treated the water to prevent it from growing back as quickly,” Flores said. “Then we introduced algae-eating tilapia and added aerators. The tilapia didn’t eat as much algae as we hoped. The algae returned and clogged our aerators. We’re doing everything we can to keep them going.”
Another issue, Flores said, is that the summer months create ideal growing conditions for the algae.
“The summer is algae’s ‘season’ if you will,” Flores said. “Our staff members are out in boats physically removing it from the water, but it is growing back as quickly as we take it out.”
Flores said the fall and winter months are the recommended time to take the most aggressive approach to algae mitigation. That is what the city did last year.
After that attempt did not pan out long-term, the City is now working with scientists at Stephen F. Austin State University on further water testing and species identification. Interim City Manager Kevin Gee said when the results come back, the City will work to implement SFA’s recommendations and hopefully rid the lake of the algae for good.
“We’ve tried a number of things to beautify and clean up the lake,” Gee said. “Although these measures have not fixed the problem, we are not done trying.”
Personally, when SFA gives their recommendations, I hope they share it with all the pond owners in East Texas.