Lake Griffy Future Being Decided While Anglers Sleep


By Don Jordan

April 28. 2008


If you enjoy fishing or boating at Lake Griffy, that 109-acre crown jewel of Bloomington's outdoor rescources, it is time for you to get off the couch and start calling the Bloomington Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

The park department is in the process, right now, of creating a plan that outlines the next ten years' of development at Griffy. Included in current plans is a fee increase that will have private boat owners and those who rent boats pay more to use the lake.

The fee comes in the form of a $5 per day or $50 per season launching permit for privately owned boats. Rental fees for the park's small fleet of canoes and other boats are also likely to double.

No other Lake Griffy users will be charged, let alone have their user fees increased.

And who are the majority of park users at Griffy? Dogs. Lake Griffy has become the favorite doggie sewer of at least half of Bloomington's dog population.

The park department, while claiming intense concern about Griffy's water quality, has been willing to sit by and watch the so-called "dog play area" (east of the Hinkle Road causeway) become a major source of pollution feeding directly into Griffy's "natural area."

The dog play area is immediately adjacent to the lake in the upper end where Griffy Creek enters the impounded water. Every rain carries loads of dog feces directly into the lake. Dog urine which soaks into the ground, reaches the lake more slowly but carries nitrogen, a major fertilizer for aquatic plants.

There's more. Consider that hundreds, maybe thousands of dogs are walked around the reservoir on trails where more feces and urine is deposited. On the extremely steep slopes surrounding Griffy, this load of dog fertilizer doesn't take long to reach the lake either.

Add the dog load to the load of nutrients already pouring in from septic systems and the IU Golf Course, and Lake Griffy becomes a kind of open sewer for the town's dogs, golfers and nearby homes.

It's no wonder Brazilian Elodea bloomed and ravished Griffy in a few years. The place is a literal hot house for aquatic vegetation. Any plant that gets a foothold there is going to thrive because they have rich silty bottom soils and perfect fertilization for fast growth.

Plans for squeezing anglers are just part of the future the park department has planned at Griffy. There is going to be a fishing platform for handicapped, something we've been asking about for decades. Where this platform is located is the major issue. I have seen state fishing platforms stuck in three feet of water where no fish would ever swim, so let the bureaucrats know where you think such a platform should go.

Frankly, there is so much to be covered in the proposed planning for Griffy's next ten years, that anyone who loves this beautiful little lake should contact the park department and find out what they are thinking about and how to comment on your ideas about Griffy's future.

Click here to go to the park department's page on Lake Griffy.

Here you will find the city's new plant management plan and a tiny note at the bottom of the page about dredging and silt removal at Griffy. Talk about potentional for a fish disaster! Dredging will send clouds of silt down into the lower basin, so don't plan on finding a bunch of bluegill nests close to the causeway this year.

Besides dredging's threat to fish through direct increase in suspended silt, disturbing this silt will release clouds of mercury, lead and whatever other poisons like pesticides and PCBs into the lake environment.

So, do you like Lake Griffy? Do you enjoy fishing or boating there or just looking at the lake? If so, you had better speak up now or see Griffy become dedicated as Indiana's first aquatic dog crap park.

Bloomington Parks and Recreation
401 N. Morton St. Ste 250
Bloomington, IN 4i7404
812.349.3700

Email: parks@bloomington.in.gov

©Copyright 2008. Donald Lee Jordan

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