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ONLY ON 3: Greenfield Lake a little too green

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Greenfield Lake a little too green

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Some people say Wilmington's Greenfield Lake just is not what it used to be. Algae and invasive plants are growing out of control, turning the lake's blue waters green. It's not only a problem for the environment, but for the economy as well.

So far this summer has been a quiet one for the paddle boating business out here at greenfield lake. The problem has been Greenfield has just been too green and littered with algae.

"Every time we've been out here over the last three years we've noticed an increase in algae," said Anthony Morgan, who is visiting from Wales. "It's getting worse and worse."

It's not just an eyesore. The algae is bad for paddlers, who have little open water to work with.

"If you got into the real algae stuff the canoe almost stopped," Morgan said. "Every time you put the paddle in you were picking up algae and weed on the paddle and you had to keep cleaning off the paddle, and you were really struggling through it."

Boat rentals are a large portion of the Cape Fear River Watch's operating budget. This year, business has dropped nearly in half.

"I have so many people that come down, they take one look at the lake and they turn around," lake manager Scott Whitham said. "They just don't want to rent at that time. Frankly, I can't blame them."

Boaters say it's gotten to a point, where it's hardly worth it.

"Well you'd think twice if it got any worse," Morgan said. "You wouldn't go out if it got any worse, because you have to look for the spaces to cut through."

The source of the problem is in runoff polluted with high levels of fertilizer and nitrogen. That sends plant growth through the roof, damaging the ecosystem...

"We have seen some evidence of fishkill in here where some of the smaller species of fish have been floating on top of the muck," Whitham said. But there is some hope. The city is finally treating the lake with algaecide in hopes of clearing up the water.

"It has started to work," Whitham said. "I expect further improvements over the next few months. I think the lake will be completely clear once again."

But the pollution doesn't just stop in the lake. It also makes its way into the Cape Fear River making it all the more important to clean up Greenfield. Cape Fear River Watch says homeowners can help by switching to organic fertilizer in their yard, which has significantly lower levels of nitrogen. That helps to stop the algae growth in the lake.

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Greenfield lake

I remember Easter-egg hunts, trainrides,and the zoo. Everyone had a picture in front of the wooden Indian( Whatever happened to that?) I ride past the lake on a daily basis and am somewhat saddened by the lack of beauty this park once held.But this is not a quick-fix problem, maybe someone will take the time to perserve this lake, and turn it back into the family-fun place it used to be!

Water Quality

This is nothing new, we've been wasting money on this for years and will continue to do so until Fertilizer is banned and we stop killing all of the trees that filter this mess out. People sling Fertilizer out like its bird feed. This is not specific to greenfield, I can remember living along burnt mill creek in the 70s. It was pristine, many aquatic plants that are not there now. The water was running a little faster which kept it oxygenated. Have you seen the water in Burnt mill now? It makes me want to puke up something acidic to help neutralize the poor basin. Absolutely disgusting! I always think what it must have looked like 100 years ago, or even 50. Just 60 years ago Greenfield was clear with a sandy bottom, it was THE swimming spot of the city. I used to SCUBA dive in Greenfield in the 90's, the bottom is covered with algae blankets, I mean covered. As the blankets produce gases, they rise to the surface.
It's really a bummer that our children and great-grand children will never see clear water running through the city. Greenfield is so shallow, I think one of the only was to get it cleaned up is to deepen it. We're pissin in the wind with everything else UNTIL we get control of the runoff going into all of streams and creeks.
Such a shame!!!
We are on our way to have a berren landscape just like the rest of the world where man has been for 1000 + years.


Used to be......

Greenfield lake used to be a show place way back when. Then the City of Wilmington just gave up on it. It's a pretty dangerous place to be now with the rundown neighborhoods around it. I can remember reading about at least one dead body being found around the the lake. I have seen gangs of people hanging out "so to speak" around there. The condition of the lake has alot to do with this type of activity. When the lake was the center piece of Wilmington and events were held there on a regular basis money was made and used to maintain the lake. Yes runoff is part of the problem and neighbors around the lake need to control what comes out of their yards and into the lake better, we have heard this for years. I personally think a lack of pride in a place that holds such beauty not to mention a rich history for the City of Wilmington is pox on the whole city. The City and the County governments should get together and clean the lake up. Then they should begin to plan events in the park again. When you bring back decent people to the area that tends to make others want to come and see how good and fun the Lake and the grounds around it can be. I guess my point is clean up the water run off the riff-raff and bring back what once was only better.

lake was diffrent once

It maybe hard to belive but when I was a kid the city would bring in beach sand for about 100 yards of the lake front for people that wanted to use the lake as a swimming area an the water was clear and clean, good fishing also and the ferry boat would take you for a ride aound the lake. We had a zoo, there also at one time. Then someone put in a golf course up stream of the lake and in my thinking the over use of firtilizer and or the run off of same may the water grow any plant life there, so we have now what you see, sorry. Sure wish it was like it was back then.