The Blue Lake Preservation Association met Saturday, August 1st for its annual member-wide caucus. With lake levels so pronouncedly low this year, a talking point at the meeting was possibilities for dredging part(s) of the lake to allow easier navigable access between Blue Lake’s small basin and large basin. The dredging process is expected to cost at least $15,000, depending, among other things, on the amount of material removed from the lake. In order to dredge Blue Lake, a permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must be obtained and a dumping ground for the out-hauled matter must be secured.
Pro-dredging arguments include the right of residents on the small basin, including dues-paying member of the BLPA, to pursue happiness by continuing to have navigable access to the large basin. Anti-dredging arguments include wariness to tamper with nature’s will.
Blue Lake Free Press views the following as obstacles to state-sponsored dredging:
- Lack of support for permit. With the current atmosphere thick with anti-dredging sentiment, pro-dredgers will face a difficult time convincing the DNR of the necessity for modifying Blue Lake. (However, residents near shallow area(s) may make a compelling argument for professional dredging if amateurs destroy shorelines by scooping out sediment by their own accord.)
- Cost. With a price tag starting at $15,000, BLFP is dubious that the BLPA will comprehensively agree to dedicate a majority of their funds to executing such an uncertain project. (See Futility.) (However, a wealthy benefactor could step in and individually finance the project.)
- Potential for ecological damage, including reduction in water quality and the addition of foreign material to the lake. Promoting a greater flow of water between the small basin and the large basin may mean that the nutrient-rich slurry prevalent in the small basin will infiltrate the large basin, creating increased algae blooms in big Blue Lake. Algae blooms are bad news for Blue Lake’s famously clear water. (However, a reduction in water clarity due to algae may mean better fishing.) Also, in order to most effectively prevent sediment from filling in the (theoretically) dredged area, a sturdy cement layer may need to be poured on top of the lake bed – further subjecting Blue Lake to unnatural elements.
- Futility of of project. As Dr. Expert explains, “Nature doesn’t like holes.” If there’s a hole, the natural world will try to fill it in. This means that, eventually, sediment carried by water will naturally creep back into the dredged area, rendering the proposed modifications useless. In fact, in a few thousand (or more) years, Blue Lake will fill entirely with dirt; in which case, we’ll leave our canoes behind and all go on a big swamp hike.
- Other catastrophic possibilities. As proffered by a Blue Lake resident, the dredging machine could uncork a large crevasse, draining the entirety of the lake’s waters into the ground, leaving nothing except a few lost sailboat centerboards by which to remember Blue Lake. (However, the dredging machine could also strike oil and / or gold and then we could charter the waters in our own personal yachts… though we’d probably have to create a system of locks between the small basin and the large basin for access.)
Correspondingly, Blue Lake Free Press sees dredging Blue Lake as not an optimal use of resources but should disclose that we are headquartered on the large basin where we do, indeed, have a lot of fun.