Ellis Lake

Representatives from HDR collect sediment samples as part of the Ellis Lake baseline water and sediment testing done in January.

Marysville and the Yuba Water Agency are working together on a master plan to figure out a long-term solution for improving the water quality of Ellis Lake.

The group recently completed water and sediment sampling that will provide a baseline of information for officials to refer to when comparing future testing results to see how certain improvements that have been made – like the lake’s fountain pump being replaced and the installation of aerators – is impacting the overall water quality.

At a recent meeting, the Marysville City Council reviewed the sampling results and directed city staff to continue working with the water agency to develop a comprehensive nutrient management plan that will help with the overall Ellis Lake master plan. 

“The health of the water is probably the most important thing, but the master plan will also be looking at things like accessibility, walkability and what type of recreational uses the lake could be used for,” said Marysville Mayor Ricky Samayoa. “We’ve been working and meeting with the water agency on an almost monthly basis to try and set up what the master plan will look like and what projects can be brought forward to improve the lake.” 

One of the leading causes of the lake’s current state is excess nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen that can fuel nuisance and invasive aquatic plant growth, degrading water quality and leading to the development of harmful algae blooms. Part of the problem is that the lake’s main source is well water that has a high level of phosphorus, but stormwater runoff into lake also compounds the issue. 

When nutrient levels are balanced, they can help aquatic ecosystems thrive. As part of the recent sampling study, staff concluded that the city and water agency should look at different types of safe nutrient-balancing chemicals that could be used in the lake – along with an aeration system and the fountain – to improve the quality, which would be accomplished through the development of a comprehensive nutrient management plan. 

Samayoa said both groups will continue to meet as often as possible, given the current public health situation, and the hope is to have a better idea on the best long-term options moving forward and the costs associated within the next several months. 

“I really appreciate Yuba Water Agency and their staff and board for the support of the Ellis Lake project. It’s been wonderful working with them. I also appreciate our staff who have been working hard to move this project forward. We are really happy on the progress we’ve been making. We are moving in the right direction and we are starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.”

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