Algae is growing problem at Geist Reservoir

DNR: Problem is getting worse

INDIANAPOLIS - Algae is a growing problem at Geist Reservoir and it could put a damper on enjoying the water this summer.

The growing algae problem is a nightmare for swimmers and a major nuisance for boaters and skiers.

A new effort is underway to control the algae known as Eurasian watermilfoil.

Professional fishermen insisted the vegetation found in the shallow water around the reservoir is not a problem because it is a great habitat for fish.

“If you want bass, you need grass. At the same time, as long as it’s under control so it doesn’t take over the lake. That’s a whole different story,” fisherman Mike Elsea said.

For recreational boaters and jet skiers, the algae can wrap around propellers and clog intake grates.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife said the problem is getting worse.

“It’ll grow to where sunlight can penetrate to the bottom so it can form a ring completely around the lake and it appears that it’s probably doing that now and really causing nuisance boating conditions,” said Doug Keller with the DNR.

DNR officials said the vegetation has been in state waterways for half a century and is taking over too many bodies of water, especially shallow reservoirs like Geist.

Property owners can chemically treat the small areas, but state permits are required for larger frontages.

So far, the nuisance isn’t going away and many believe the problem is only getting worse.

“I’ve fished Geist Reservoir for 29 years and I’ve never seen it like this since I’ve been fishin’ this lake,” fisherman Fred Garrison said.

The algae can be difficult, if not impossible to remove, wildlife officials said. The best solution may just be to figure out how to manage the problem.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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