Trends Summer 2015 | Page 6

With the assistance of Ayres Associates, the lake’s water quality has been improved and the surrounding park space has become safer, healthier, and more accessible to parkgoers. “The improvements bring a natural sense of place; they return Lake Minnehaha to an experience and a destination,” said Chris Pletcher, Ayres’ project manager. “We’ve restored the lake so that it’s now functional and beneficial to the park today but also tied to the historic roots of the City of Cheyenne.” Report details poor conditions In spring 2011, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department hired Ayres to create a conceptual report to address the lake’s ecological health issues. At the time, bluegreen algae, which thrives in shallow, non-circulating environments, was taking over the lake, and dissolved oxygen levels fluctuated from high to low during the course of the day based on sunlight. Mitigating “It destabilizes the ecosystem and pushes out a lot of beneficial species, so it’s not even healthy ecologically let alone visually,” Pletcher explained. “While a lot of people in town used the park, it was less and less attractive just because of the smell and the poor water quality. The bluegreen algae can at times be toxic, and so there were also questions of health hazard.” Ayres’ conceptual report addressed the factors contributing to the lake’s poor water quality, picked up on previous water quality studies recommending that it be filled in if the issues can’t be resolved, and mapped out a proposed remediation plan. “So the questions that the City asked us were ‘Is there a way to fix it, do we know what’s going on here, or are we just spending fruitless effort that won’t result in improvements to the lake?’ ” Pletcher said. Recommendations made The remediation plan outlined a prioritized, two-phased plan of correction. Phase 1 efforts included increasing circulation in the lake, removing an island, and deepening the lake from 3 to 8 feet, all of which would help control the blue-green algae growth and keep the lake cleaner. Removing the island not only helped with water circulation but also eliminated what had become an unwelcomed goose habitat – with additional problems resulting from their droppings. the Remediation plan restores balanced ecosystem to historic Wyoming lake By Jennifer Schmidt O n any given day community members in Cheyenne, Wyoming, convene in and around Holliday Park for a variety of recreational uses. Some bring picnic lunches, others use the space to exercise, and most just simply enjoy the views of historic Lake Minnehaha. But it wasn’t long ago that the now peaceful, picturesque body of water looked more like split pea soup – and smelled putrid. “We had a lot of citizen complaints about the smell,” said Rick Parish, the City’s director of Parks and Recreation. “It was just an eyesore located in the center of the City, which was a real concern because it’s our second most popular park for usage.” 6│TRENDS TRENDS │7