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Couple looking out for lake

Jennifer Smith
jsmith@littletongazette.com
8/10/11

Mike and Beth Devlin enjoy their historic home on South Bemis Street that backs up to Sterne Park. They’re able to enjoy events that go on in the park and take in the wonders of nature from the comfort of their own back yard.

This year, though, the wonders have included a stubborn algae bloom on the lake that makes it tough for the geese to swim and is turning a beautiful pair of big white ducks green.

So the Devlins set out on a mission, going door to door to ask their neighbors to sign a petition that reads, in part:

“The following citizens of Old Littleton are quite disturbed about the deplorable condition of Sterne Lake and its odors that penetrate the pavilions, paths and other close proximity park grounds. … The below citizens of Old Littleton are hoping that some immediate action can be accomplished to solve this problem and bring back the beauty that this lake/park deserved.”
They ultimately presented 50 signatures to both city council and South Suburban Parks and Recreation District officials.

“We have no qualms whatsoever with the city or South Suburban,” said Beth Devlin. “We just tried to get something accomplished, and by the looks of the lake today, it happened.”

Teresa Cope, spokeswoman for SSPRD, says the algae bloom is a normal occurrence that worsens when the lake is shallow and the weather is like it has been this year – hot days and cool nights.

“It’s certainly nothing that anybody needs to worry about,” she said, adding that SSPRD is treating the lake with algaecides as necessary.

Additionally, city and SSPRD staff have said plans to dredge the lake will be made, possibly in next year’s budget.

A quick trip to the lake this afternoon revealed a relatively clear lake, but you might want to make sure you pack bug spray for the Western Welcome Week fireworks and Lion’s Club BBQ tonight.

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A stubborn algae bloom has turned Sterne Lake green for much of the summer, but it's in good shape for Western Welcome Week events tonight. Photo by Jennifer Smith
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UPDATE
City of Littleton
Press Release
1/18/12

The Littleton City Council and the South Suburban Parks and Recreation Board of Directors will split the cost of a project to dredge Sterne Lake, 5800 S. Spotswood St., later this year.  The proposed work will also include some related bank stabilization, re-grading and re-vegetation, all of which should help improve water quality in the lake.  The project cost is estimated at $175,000 but a number of factors may affect the cost, primarily disposal of the removed sediment.  The Urban Drainage and Flood Control District will contribute $25,000 toward the cost and will be responsible for the project’s management.

The lake has not been dredged since the mid-1990s.  Over the years, accumulated sludge and sediment in the lake have significantly lowered the water level.  In some places, the lake is less than three feet deep.

The maintenance of the lake is very important to the neighborhood, to Sterne Park visitors, and the park’s aquatic habitat.