Lake Fayetteville’s Guardian Angels

ffw-lake-2-4-1-10By Kevin Bennoch

Twice a year the members of Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership rally eager volunteers to clean up the trash that comes from lake traffic and the surrounding watershed.

A watershed could be thought of as a large bowl with Lake Fayetteville at the bottom of the bowl. Even though you may not litter at the lake, if you litter around “the bowl” it all ends up running into Lake Fayetteville.

So, with muck boots, gloves, trash grabbers and red mesh bags in hand, volunteers hit the land and water to pick up trash that has entered Lake Fayetteville via highways, roadsides and small tributaries.

While some prefer to pick up trash from kayaks and canoes, others prefer to hike the trails in search of trash.

On April 10, LFWP will be rallying volunteers once again. This is sure to be the largest cleanup yet. LFWP has partnered up with the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service, Clear Creek project, the City of Fayetteville and local restaurants and business owners.

These partnerships have given LFWP the opportunity to reach out to more volunteers and a larger community of people who want to make a difference locally.

LFWP hosted its first Lake Fayetteville cleanup in 2001. What seemed to be an impossible task in 2001 has turned out to be a sustainable effort thanks to the many committed volunteers and sponsors.

Less trash is being picked up, which indicates that people are starting to understand the importance of keeping our watersheds clean for future generations.

LFWP is committed to Lake Fayetteville cleanups, but the list of accomplishments is long. With a mission to keep a baseline of lake data, the partnership received a grant to do a sediment study of the lake in 2003-04.

LFWP has participated in education days, green expos and environmental conferences throughout the region. In 2008 the partnership had the level of heavy metals tested in various species and sizes of fish. The results, contrary to popular belief, were negative.

Many fishermen who eat the fish out of Lake Fayetteville were relieved to hear that news.

Spawning fish must have a solid place to lay their eggs; the eastern portion of Lake Fayetteville has very heavy sediment. Since fish can’t lay their eggs in the mud, LFWP placed some rock beds around the east end of the lake and monitored the fish beds.

Although the results were inconclusive, LFWP continues to modify and monitor that experiment to provide adequate spawning habitat where Clear Creek enters into the lake.

To promote, preserve, and enhance the integrity of the Lake Fayetteville Watershed through scientific evaluation, educational programs and voluntary cooperation has long been the mission of LFWP.

There are two things that make LFWP successful in their mission: volunteers and sponsors. Volunteers make up the work force and sponsors provide resources, nourishment, support and networking for the partnership.

To become a member of LFWP, go to As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the LFWP accepts donations and needs volunteers to build a strong community that cares about its future.

Kevin Bennoch is director of the Lake Fayetteville Environmental Study Center

Categories: Legacy Archive