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Blackmans Lake to get a little help from its friends

SNOHOMISH — A local sportsman armed with a management background and engineering know-how has set his sights on restoring Blackmans Lake.
Bob Roush has been organizing against pollution, invasive plants and unwanted wildlife at the lake since late last year and will take his effort public at a meeting Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Waltz Building, 116 Ave. B.
Roush is a director at
the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club. He remembers first enjoying its annual fishing derby at the lake in 1989, after arriving from Oregon. His long-term love of the lake paired with 33 years of experience at Boeing, mostly in management, fuel his efforts.
After reading hundreds of pages of reports spanning four decades on the lake and speaking to numerous agencies, Roush has become an expert on all things Blackmans.
Roush has had to cast a wide net to do it, reaching out to the the City of Snohomish and Snohomish County, the state Department of Ecology, Snohomish High School and other organizations.
Each agency has some stake in the lake, such as the county, which does water monitoring and annual reporting, and the city, where regular water quality test results determine whether residents can or can’t swim in the lake.
The city typically posts signs warning parkgoers not to swim at the lake as needed in the summer, once rains diminish and blue-green algae blooms, said city engineer Yosh Monzaki.
A large population of waterfowl pollutes the area. Roush said some are too fat to even fly north in the summer, outstaying their welcome in Snohomish instead.
Significant development has occurred near the shores of the shallow lake during the past three decades.  The growing number of nearby residents using chemical fertilizers and the waste from domestic animals also contributes to the problem according to Roush.
Add invasive fragrant water lily pads and drainage issues to the mix and Roush says it could take two years at a minimum to restore the lake.
That is far short of the five to six years he remembers a guest speaker from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife telling him, but Roush is optimistic and unflagging in his efforts.
Roush is also not alone anymore in his mission, which he calls a study. “We’re a study, not a project, because we have no money,” Roush explained with a chuckle.
Snohomish High School science teacher Louie Boggeri and students belonging to the Snohomish Junior Sportsmen’s Association are partnering with Roush to conduct ongoing testing at Blackmans. The plan would enable students to gain experience and school credit while providing cost savings for the cleanup, Roush said.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for them to do some real science and it’s just wonderful for them to have that opportunity and contribute to increasing the health of the lake,” Boggeri said.
The state Department of Ecology has been assisting Roush in his investigations. Agency spokesman Larry Altose said he recommended that during water testing, attention stay on conventional pollutants such as fecal coliform, as well as pH levels and temperature measures.
Tests, including for the fecal coliform E. coli, are scheduled to begin this month.
Roush plans to remove invasive lilypads in July.
As for the fat fowl, Roush is hopeful that a device proposed by the Parks Department may “get the waterfowl to pack their bags and go somewhere else,” he said. 


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