One of the most inspiring aspects of the trip was to see the Cortes Community coming together to do something about the lake eutrophication. Gunflint and Hague Lake are two beautiful lakes and swimming grounds of the locals on Cortes Island. In recent years, the lakes have experienced an increase in temperature, in conjunction with nutrient run-off from surrounding homes, farms, and roadways, the lakes have been experiencing algal blooms.
What is most important to note, that differs from many communities in today’s society, is once this occurred, the community did not sit back and say “Oops, oh well, let’s swim elsewhere”. The community has banded together to figure out a solution to the problem and to naturally heal the lake of the man-made damage.
Some of the ways in that the crew at Linnaea Farm Specifically were managing their impact on the lake was by creating a system of checks and balances to purify and filter the water before it reaches the lake. Any farm has nutrient run-off due to rains and exposed soil. At Linnaea, thickets and hedgerows for nutrient uptake have been placed as a last line fo defence along the water’s edge. Moving upstream, areas like the production garden and cow pastures are adding nutrients to the run-off. To mediate this, a creek channel has been gently damned up in sections to create slowing and deposition sites which will force the water to percolate and filter through the soil before spilling into the lake. At some of the miniature damn sites, a revolutionary filtration technique has been adapted where wood chips acting as a wick are pulling water from the creek and filtering it through a bed of Garden Giant, Stropharia rugosoannulata, mushroom mycelium. This particular mushroom is excellent at drawing these excess nutrients from the water, helping to purify the lake spillage.
Our downstream effects are not always considered, sitting at home right now, think about where your water goes, what is below you? Lakes? Wetland? Creek? Ground water? People? Ocean? Where is your water going? What is in it? Who will it affect? Please stop to think of your downstream effects and creative ways to reuse your gray water or filter it through some sort of biofiltration to cleanse it of nutrient overload or toxins. We all have an effect on the people and the world around us, realize your impact, and ACT ON IT!