State officials pledge more ‘aggressive’ approach to combating overgrowth at Somerset County lake |

State officials pledge more ‘aggressive’ approach to combating overgrowth at Somerset County lake

Stephen Huba
Adam Platt via Facebook
Dead bluegill can be seen floating in the water at Cranberry Glade Lake in Somerset County.
Adam Platt via Facebook
This picture shows numerous dead bluegill floating on the surface of Cranberry Glade Lake in Somerset County.
Adam Platt via Facebook
Cranberry Glade Lake is operated by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

Two state legislators are pledging a more aggressive approach to reclaiming a lake in Somerset County that experienced a serious fish kill this summer.

State Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Uniontown, and state Sen. Pat Stefano, R-Connellsville, met with officials of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Game Commission last week to discuss the future of Cranberry Glade Lake in Lower Turkeyfoot Township.

The 72-acre, man-made lake has been the subject of concern for years because of excessive vegetation growth. The lake sits on game commission property but is managed by the PFBC.

In July, several people reported the death of “hundreds” of fish that were seen floating on the surface. The game commission concluded that the fish kill was a natural occurrence caused by high water temperatures and a lack of oxygen.

Part of the problem is the fact that the lake is only 4 to 6 feet deep, the legislators said in a joint statement.

“The overgrowth … is nature’s normal response to a lake with man-made structures. It is trying to revert to its natural state as a cranberry bog,” they said.

Both commissions plan to move forward with a combination of previous approaches, which are expected to be more effective when executed together, and hope to see improvement within two years, the statement said.

The statement did not specify which methods are being considered, but a state fisheries manager told the Tribune-Review in July that past methods include drawing down the water level in the winter time and applying herbicide.

“We’re going to have to come up with a plan to do something. … We’ve tried to control the vegetation in the past but with little success,” said Gary Smith, PFBC fisheries manager for the Southwest Region.

Smith said a herbicide was applied in 2013 but with little effect. Drawing down the water level in the winter would expose portions of the lake bed to freezing that could kill off some of the vegetation, he explained.

“Using chemicals is a last resort, but that may be our only option,” he said, noting that any plan would have to be approved by the game commission.

Smith said some vegetation — about 30% — is desirable as cover for fish, but the vegetation coverage at Cranberry Glade Lake — about 90% — is considered excessive.

A private study done in 2018 determined that 56% of the lake surface is covered by watershield, a native kind of water lily, and 14% is covered by spatterdock, another native plant. An invasive plant known as curly-leafed pond weed grows in about 22% of the lake, mostly in the middle part that looks clear from the surface. When that non-native plant dies back in July, its decomposition can exacerbate oxygen depletion in the lake.

“It’s natural for lakes to turn into wetlands over time, so we’re fighting Mother Nature here. What makes it difficult is it’s shallow to begin with,” Smith said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Regional | Outdoors
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.