Gathering will address how to free lakes of muck
Lake County Lake Lovers will present an overview on restoring local lakes Tuesday at Green Drinks Libertyville. (Courtesy of Mary Conley Eggert)
By Mick Zawislak (

Solutions to muck, algae and issues affecting local lakes will be the focus of a presentation Tuesday at Green Drinks Libertyville, a monthly gathering for those interested in the environment and sustainability.

Lake County Lake Loverswill outline the state of lakes and how to improve them from 6:45 to 8 p.m. at Post-Time Bar & Grille, 13860 Rockland Road, Green Oaks.

The organization was formed last summer as a working group ofGlobal Water Works, a Libertyville-based nonprofit, to inform residents how to restore Lake County lakes.

It is among various interests vying for a piece of $135.2 million in federalAmerican Rescue Plan Act funds administered by Lake County.

Lake Lovers is seeking about $2.3 million for a five-year demonstration focused on Butler Lake in Libertyville and St. Mary’s Lake and Loch Lomond, both in Mundelein.

“We’ve identified proven approaches,” said Global Water Works founder Mary Conley Eggert, who is organizing Tuesday’s “Save Our Lake Life”Green Drinkspresentation.

Lake County earns substantial tourism dollars from its lakes, yet many are in decline, Eggert said.

Cyanobacteria and harmful algae blooms affect water quality and limit oxygen to support natural processes. They also pose risks to marine life, pets, residents and local economies, she added.

In some cases, sandy bottoms have been replaced with inches of decaying debris — sediment buildup caused by excess nutrients flowing into lakes. That’s an indicator of oxygen depletion, which contributes to algae growth, cyanobacteria and fish kills, Eggert said.

Dredging the lakes can improve water quality and increase lakes’ ability to handle stormwater but is more costly and disruptive than Lake Lovers’ proposal, she added.

As an alternative to mechanical dredging, the group suggests “bio-dredging” using a combination of dissolved oxygen and enzymes as a permanent, nontoxic and less expensive solution, according to Eggert.

A countywide scorecard to track progress and the well-being of lakes is part of the proposal.

Eggert said lakes are a traditionally underfunded asset that because of multiple owners often go untreated until there is an issue or local homeowner associations agree to invest.