Lake Update

We encourage you to enjoy the sunshine at the Lago Santa Margarita during this beautiful season – and to admire the newly-launched floating botanical islands along the Lake! From the delicate white blossoms of water hyssop to the regal ripples of papyrus fronds, the botanical islands enhance the Lake’s beauty and help balance its water quality. As the plants establish underwater root systems, they quickly absorb the nutrients that golden algae needs in order to reproduce, or bloom. Fewer, weaker golden algae blooms will allow the water quality to slowly re-balance and lead to the re-introduction of fish into the Lake. In addition, SAMLARC has embarked on the second phase of the Lake Ecosystem Repair Project: reducing the levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the Lake.

TDS levels indicate the concentration of elements and salinity in the water column. Additionally, golden algae has historically bloomed more frequently in environments where TDS levels are high. The floating islands help to combat golden algae by absorbing nutrients – simultaneously assisting in reducing TDS levels. However, floating islands alone will not neutralize TDS levels or golden algae blooms. In February 2019, the Lago Santa Margarita Ad Hoc Committee launched the second phase of the Lake Ecosystem Repair Project: The Lake Water Exchange Project. This Project will assist in reducing the TDS levels by exchanging a portion of the Lake’s highly-saturated water with fresh water from the Lake fill.

Over the course of the Project, approximately one-third of the Lake’s volume will be gradually removed and replenished with fresh water. Working in partnership with the Santa Margarita Water District, the “original” water will be channeled into the sewer system through a pump on the west side of the Lake. The pump was selected to slowly reduce the volume of the Lake with minimal impact to Members: it runs quietly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. at 6:00 a.m., and the size of its sewer connection is sufficiently small enough that the rate of water flow will render the removal virtually unnoticeable. The Project began on February 12, 20