Campus Lake may soon open again for recreation

Campus Lake as seen from its north side on Sept. 1, 2016, near Thompson Point. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

Campus Lake as seen from its north side on Sept. 1, 2016, near Thompson Point. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Olivia Spiers

Wildlife and fisheries students are raising money for fish habitat structures in hopes of reviving recreational activities on Campus Lake.

Ed Heist, director of the fisheries center, said the structures are part of the larger lake improvement project which began with draining the lake in September to combat toxic algae. He said the lake could be opened in the next year, allowing activities like kayaking, swimming, boating and fishing.

The Physical Plant, the SIU Foundation and University Housing funded the $350,000 drainage and nutrient removal project in Fall 2016. The university spent $63,500 on dye, smoke and camera tests in 2015 to find the source of an unusually high presence of fecal matter believed to be contributing to the cyanobacterial growth.


“Things are finally looking up for Campus Lake now,” Heist said.

Heist also said the Saluki Bassers fishing team would be able to hold tournaments with other universities at the lake again after being unable to fish since the drainage.

“It’s a huge draw for these students to be able to just walk out of their dorms and fish,” Heist said.

Heist also said the restoration of Campus Lake could bring more aspiring biology students to the university by offering hands-on experience.

“The lake is a living classroom,” Heist said. “It’s a very important part of education for students.”

The wildlife and fisheries students have raised $120 of their $2,000 goal for the habitat structures and have submitted an application to the Green Fund for planting vegetation in the lake.

The deadline for donating is April 21, and the structures are scheduled to be placed before May.


Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

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