This perplexed squirrel, perched precariously on his broken branch extending over the water of Silver Lake is assessing his choices: wait to be rescued or take a leap of faith. He took a leap of faith. His position clearly illustrates the current situation facing the restoration of the Lake.
The Friends of Silver Lake recently reviewed the SNC Lavalin Report about soil testing in Silver Lake. This study was commissioned by Norfolk County in the fall of 2009 with the final report being submitted to the County April 2010 . The contractors had recently undertaken emergency work to assess the viability of the dam. The lowered water level was a prime opportunity to address the potential to deepen the lake and realign the shoreline in response to local municipal and community interest.
The result of the testing shows that there are pockets of soil contamination that exceed allowable limits. Soil removal will require specialized treatment before disposal. The report further recommends the County first determine the ownership of the lake bed and assess if these owners share in the responsibility or liability for the cleanup of the contaminated sediment.
150 years of population growth and accompanying increased storm water runoff being directed from expanding residential areas into the Lynn River water system is taking its toll. Sedimentation has been building up in the lake bed to a point that it needs to be dredged to maintain its function. Before the lake can be dredged there is a legal requirement to assess the quality of the soil for disposal purposes.
In the meantime, we face a delay. Just like the little fellow sitting out on a limb overlooking the Lake, there are only two options. A) leave the muddy flatbeds as they are or B) Take a leap of faith and pay the money to decontaminate the soil when it is dredged. Do this in the name of increased tourism, economic development, recreational activities, preservation of habitat for endangered species, flood abatement for the town and preservation of commercial fisheries and marinas. .
Friends of Silver Lake believe there is only one choice. We are stewards of a heritage that belonged to our ancestors and the responsibility has been passed on to our community to preserve that heritage for generations to come. If we leave the situation as it is, it will not go away. First there is the safety hazard of children playing out in the flats getting stuck in the mud. We have already had one situation of this nature. There is the problem of the field of noxious Purple Loosestrife invading the area like wild-fire. We must also consider the infestation of mosquitoes in the bog with accompanying concern of West Nile warnings. Will we have the courage to take a Leap of Faith!