By Cllr Jessica Chivers
St Albans City & District Council is removing more silt from Verulamium Park lake, at the opposite end to where silt was removed last year, today and over the next week or so. I imagine this comes as very welcome news to many residents and visitors.
It’s a tricky situation though and silt removal isn’t a sustainable solution to what will be a problem for forever and a day….this takes me back to my GCSE biology days….
The lakes are made from concrete (both edging and bases) no more than 1m deep and they support a large population of waterfowl, which in part is maintained and increased through the popularity of feeding by visitors. This has resulted in a great input of nutrient-rich bird droppings leading to a highly eutrophic (an oversupply of nutrients, inducing explosive growth of plants and algae which, when such organisms die, consume the oxygen in the water), heavily-silted water body. In addition, low water levels in the river mean that the lake does not receive any fresh water from the river for months on end during the summer.
Simply put we MUST stop feeding the birds and I think Mary Poppins and Burt would approve.
The Council is working on a longer, sustainable solution driven by the Environment portfolio holder, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles and you can read about it here. A cross-party working party has been formed (I am part of it) and meets for the second time this coming Monday.
(And in case you’re wondering, the silt’s going to be pumped into a tanker before being taken to a treatment plant near Redbourn for disposal).