Our View: LMLPA well deserving of state award
Now in their 17th year of service, members of the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association were recently honored for their work with an award from a statewide organization — the Alabama Water Watch 2013 Advocacy and Policy Award.

Volunteers with an interest in the lake got together to begin monitoring the water quality of the lake in 1996. They have submitted well over 2,000 chemical records and more than 500 bacteria records from 46 sites around the lake, with the understanding that their data could be used to protect and improve the quality of life on the lake.

They have been effective in their work.

Water testing has discovered bacterial contamination in swimming areas a couple of times, contamination that presented real health threats to swimmers.

One was caused by a sewage system in need of repair.

The other was caused by geese at Lakeside Park, where the runoff from their droppings apparently caused elevate E. coli levels at the park’s manmade beach. Having been open for only part of one season, the discovery led to the closure of the swimming area until conditions improved.

City officials passed an ordinance against feeding geese — a big reason their population had swelled at the park. Observers say the number of geese at the park has noticeably declined, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to remove more geese from the park later this month.

Having reliable water testing reports available helps make those kinds of actions possible.

But the group’s work doesn’t end with water testing.

They’re also known for their annual lake cleanup.

And they continue to hold public forums and make efforts to educate others about issues that affect water quality, and issues related to relicensing procedures for Logan Martin Dam.

LMLPA members are also taking a larger view of water quality issues dialog with groups who have similar concerns.

They’ve helped change laws at the local level, and late last year they took a bold step toward influencing state regulations.

In December, LMLPA’s government committee drafted a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley addressing concerns about Certificates of Use permits, economic development, drought planning, water conservation, interstate coordination and more. Then they delivered the letter in person.

Rather than grumble about problems that affected their quality of life, they took a proactive approach. They found a way to help find solutions, reached out to those who could help, and made a difference.

We commend their commitment, and hope their input has an impact on future policy decisions.

© 2013