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Keep It Blue campaign releases Lake Chelan water quality report

The Keep It Blue campaign, which is dedicated to the long-term protection of Lake Chelan’s water quality and supply, will release its first State of the Lake Report on Thursday, Oct. 21.

The report will be released at the Keep It Blue Membership Program Launch Party and Fundraising Event, to be held 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the Lake Chelan Boat Club. The event, which is open to the public, not only is an opportunity for people to join the Lake Chelan campaign but also to visit information booths and listen to presenters who will talk about water quality issues.

“We are releasing the 2021 State of the Lake Report and, at the same time, inviting people to join us in building upon this important effort,” said Mike Kaputa, director of the Chelan County Natural Resources Department. “The Keep It Blue campaign is one that impacts anyone who depends upon or enjoys Lake Chelan.”

The Keep it Blue campaign is an effort of the Lake Chelan Watershed Planning Unit, which is made up of a collection of stakeholders, including Natural Resources and the Lake Chelan Research Institute. The partners formed Keep It Blue as a way to not only monitor the quality of Lake Chelan, the largest natural lake in the state and the third deepest in the nation, but also to educate the public about community-based actions that will help protect the lake.  With the substantial development around it over recent decades and its increasing popularity with tourists, the lake has grown into a key economic driver for the region.

The report, which will be released annually, covers key water quality metrics such as water clarity, phosphorus and chlorophyll concentrations, dissolved oxygen depletion rates, and the growth of nearshore algae and aquatic invasive species.

Among the highlights in the 2021 report, which will be available at the event as well as online, is that Lake Chelan “exhibits remarkable long-term stability in water clarity, nutrient concentrations and growth of algae.” This is due to the large, mostly pristine nature of the lake’s watershed, according to the report.

The report also states that the nearshore environment of Lake Chelan is less stable, undergoing a transition in which algae along the shoreline has increased and aquatic invasive species have expanded over the last few decades.

The Lake Chelan Research Institute and Natural Resources are focusing their attention on addressing nearshore water quality; specifically, focusing on algae, pathogen indicators and aquatic invasive species.

Funding and in-kind support for the long-term monitoring of the lake is provided by Chelan County, the city of Chelan, the Lake Chelan Reclamation District, Cascadia Conservation District, Chelan PUD, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Forest Service

In addition, numerous businesses, including Campbell’s Resort, Cashmere Valley Bank and private individuals have provided financial support to the Lake Chelan Research Institute.

However, the Oct. 21 public event is an opportunity to build upon the campaign’s effort, increasing membership to fund future monitoring efforts and studies. The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring all 400 of its businesses in the Chelan and Manson areas to the membership program in its first year. More information about membership is at on the Keep It Blue membership page.

“Through our partnership with the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, the Keep It Blue membership program will help to create a community of dedicated people who share the responsibility of promoting sustainable practices and protecting water quality in Lake Chelan,” said Lisa Dowling, a member of the Keep it Blue Board.

Last Updated: 11/24/2021 11:30 AM

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