Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Lynchburg, VA - Just a decade ago, College Lake off Lakeside Drive near Lynchburg College was about six to eight feet deep. Now in many parts, you can see right to the bottom.
Unfortunately, College Lake is turning in to a wetland. Plus, sediment from a large chunk of the city rolls in to it. Now one professor wants something done before the lake gets even more expensive to clean.
Lynchburg College Environmental Science Professor Tom Shahady wants the lake cleaned up.
"We need some plan, we need some management plan," said Shahady.
Without the lake, Shahady has to go to other lakes to do research. The only thing to study here, Shahady says, is what happens when a lake is neglected and sediment moves in.
"When sediment comes down in our streams and our roads, it does a lot of damage to the environment and these habitats," said Shahady.
That's no surprise. After all, city council member Turner Perrow says that one-third of the city's sediment - from areas as far away as Wards Road - collects in College Lake. Cleaning it up sounds like a good plan. Perrow wants it clean but admits that's easier said than done.
"Here's the rub: We can clean it up, but we are so heavily regulated by what pumps out of it that it's prohibitively cost expensive to clean it up," said Perrow.
Perrow says the city must put money in to more pressing problems like broken pipes. There's no big plan in the works to make College Lake user-friendly again.
"I don't think anything is going to happen. I think it's just going to fill in. And then we are going to be left with this wetland and then we are going to have to deal with it and figure out what to do," said Shahady.
Shahady was holding out hope the city's higher storm water fee would have money to clean up College Lake. Unfortunately, that's not the case. That fee is for capital projects and has already been set aside.