LLPOA Water Quality Handbook

If you have any comments or concerns regarding the materials

presented in this handbook,

please contact Jim Davies at 509-233-2651


Part 1

The purpose of this Handbook is to provide a mechanism for the long-term protection of the overall quality of Loon Lake.

This mechanism is presented as a series of recommended techniques which should be followed (and in some cases are required) for the development of lands within the lake’s watershed.

Beneficial Uses

The overall quality of Loon Lake centers around its water quality. The water quality that is desired for Loon Lake is that which is sufficiently clean, clear and without excessive aquatic plant growth so as to allow the following “beneficial uses”:

  • swimming and diving
  • non-motorized boating
  • motorized boating
  • wildlife and waterfowl habitat
  • maintenance of cold water fish populations (a sport fishery)
  • irrigation of lawns and gardens
  • domestic and drinking water supply

Water quality criteria necessary to maintain these beneficial uses are summarized below.

The overall quality also includes the aesthetic character of the lake and its watershed surroundings and the high quality of rural life that residents have become accustomed to. However, it is considered that all of these amenities are ultimately a result of the water quality condition and the beneficial uses which are supported by that condition. As a result, the focus of this Handbook is on the protection of the water quality and quantity in Loon Lake.

Land Development and Occupation

The development and occupation of land includes such activities as:

  • clearing vegetation
  • grading land surfaces
  • timber harvest
  • construction of walkways, driveways, roads, homes, and other buildings
  • construction of docks, retaining walls, and other shoreline features
  • remodeling and additions to buildings
  • establishment/maintenance of lawns, landscapes, and gardens
  • establishment/maintenance of croplands and livestock pastures

All of these activities have the potential of causing the degradation of the overall quality of Loon Lake through the release of plant matter, soil particles and dissolved nutrients, if these materials reach the lake. The theory behind protecting the lake, then, is to inhibit or control the overland movement of water toward the lake, the direct addition of nutrients containing materials to the lake, and the subsurface movement of nutrients to the lake.

Watershed Approach

This handbook promotes the watershed approach to lake protection. The watershed approach to lake protection means, in effect, that all lands which contribute water to an environmentally sensitive end point (a lake in this case) need to be managed to protect the end point. A lake is an environmentally sensitive end point because it tends to trap and accumulate nutrients and then recycle them through ever increasing production of algae and aquatic plants. This process is called eutrophication. Thus, an excess of nutrients can cause decreased clarity and loss of some desired beneficial uses.

While not all lands or all development activities have a significant potential to degrade water quality there is always some potential for degradation if runoff and erosion are not controlled. There are certain combinations of land location and land use, in fact, that have great potential for impacts on water quality. Locations of concern are those near natural drainage channels both surface and subsurface or near the lake shore.

This Landowners Handbook is designed to be used and referred to by property owners throughout the Loon Lake watershed. The attached map shows the extent of the watershed. Some of the techniques discussed herein are directed primarily to near-lake owners (shoreline protection) while others may be more applicable in the more distant reaches (forestry, pasture and croplands). Many of the techniques are applicable throughout the watershed (storm water controls for developed/developing areas, erosion controls using vegetated buffer strips, on-site wastewater treatment, etc.)

The recommended techniques presented herein represent the best that modern science has developed. They are based on common sense and the basic principles of water movement (hydrology) and nutrient dynamics (physical chemistry and biology). Some of these techniques are required by local ordinances and/or state regulations. Where ordinances or regulations apply, a summary of the required activities is given along with the reference to the appropriate statute. In most cases the basic rationale behind the recommended or required technique is also given.

Vital Information About Loon Lake

Loon Lake is located at the top of the divide between the Spokane River and Colville River watersheds. At one time the overflow from Loon Lake actually flowed into Beaver Creek to Dragoon Creek and into the Spokane River. More specifically the lake is located at N latitude 48 degrees 3 minutes W longitude 117 degrees 38 minutes at the headwaters of the Colville River basin.

The altitude of the lake is 2381 feet above sea level. The lake volume is 52,000 acre feet. Mean depth of the lake is 46 feet. Maximum depth is 100 feet. The lake is approximately 2 square miles (1100 acres) in surface area. It has approximately 7.9 miles of shoreline.

The Watershed
The lake is located in a relatively small, closed drainage basin of approximately 14 square miles (7,200 acres) with only intermittent streams that stop flowing in the summer months. The lake has the smallest ratio of watershed to Lake Surface in the state of Washington, making it very sensitive to changes in its environment. Runoff from the lake and seepage from its deep aquifer form the headwaters of the Colville River.


The lake is a “slow flusher,” meaning that it takes a long time (approximately 9 years) for a molecule of water that enters the lake, either through precipitation falling directly on the lake or through runoff or through springs from underground aquifers, to leave the lake. The eastern portion of the Loon Lake watershed is dominated by Loon Lake Mountain (elevation 3,476 feet) to the southeast and Deer Lake Mountain (elevation 3,747 feet) in the northeast. A low ridge at an elevation of about 3,000 feet forms the western and southwestern boundary. The land at the north end of the watershed forms a broad glacial valley which drains northward. Highway 395 roughly bisects the watershed in a north-south direction. The highway and the roadbed of the BNSF railroad roughly parallel the east shore of the lake.

Lake Level
In the 1950s there was a bitter dispute over the lake water level by local citizens and the issue was taken to court. The Stevens County Superior Court on February 24, 1950, established the “maximum water level at which the waters of Loon Lake are required to be maintained. This is referred to as the ‘adjudicated level.’” Court Order No. 13367 established an elevation of 2381.25 feet above sea level and directed that “control of the waters at said level shall be maintained by the Supervisor of Hydraulics of the State of Washington.” This agency is now the Department of Ecology. A channel was constructed in the northwest corner of the lake leading toward Sheep Creek. A control dam with operable gates was constructed to adjust the lake level. (See picture page/not presently available.) When fully open with the lake at full pool 20,000 gallons per minute flows out of the lake. In 24 hours the lake can be lowered one inch. Water released through these gates flows down Sheep Creek. The lake is now about 3,500 acre-feet smaller (at full pool) than it would be in its natural state.

Beginning in 1996 the Loon Lake Property Owners Association assumed responsibility (under direction of the Department of Ecology) for the maintenance of the level control dam equipment and monitoring the lake level. Monitoring of the lake level is now conducted by an employee of the Loon Lake Sewer District #4 (LLSD) who reports to a contact person at DOE on a regular basis. A depth gage on the control dam was installed and may be easily read from the side of the control channel. Data on water level has been maintained on a regular basis since 1987 by the Loon Lake Sewer District. The LLSD also maintains a U.S. Bureau of Standards Evaporation Pan installed in the year 2000 that now provides daily evaporation data.

There are three sources of water for Loon Lake: (1) water that drops onto the lake’s surface; (2) water that drops in the watershed and runs into the lake; and (3) springs fed by the aquifer. There are five ways that the lake loses water: (1) surface evaporation; (2) we let it out through the control gate; (3) leakage to the deep aquifer to the north (Sheep Creek); (4) withdrawal from shallow wells adjacent to the lake; and (5) direct withdrawal from the lake for irrigation.

Essentially, the lake is a pot hole, totally dependent upon the watershed. The maximum level of the lake, when reachable, is regulated by law at 2,381.25 feet above mean sea level. The minimum level is regulated by Mother Nature. Examination of local weather data indicates that the average net evaporation for Loon Lake from June through September is 31.6 inches. However, lake-level records show that average lake-level drop for this same period is only 14.2 inches. The additional 17.4 inches of water comes from the watershed aquifer. Consequently, modifying the recharge capacity of the watershed through increased residential density is a very risky business in terms of the future of the lake.

Loon Lake is designated as a “a lake of statewide significance”
According to the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-20-030 “lakes of statewide significance means those lakes, whether natural, artificial, or a combination thereof, with a surface acreage of one thousand acres or more measured at the ordinary high water mark.” The Department of Ecology, pursuant to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 90.58.300, is designated as the state agency responsible for a program of regulation of the shorelines of the state. Deer Lake, Long Lake, and Loon Lake are “lakes of statewide significance” in Stevens County. The shorelines of these lakes are considered to be shorelines of the state and thus are regulated by the Shorelines Management Act. As required by this state law, Stevens County enacted a Shoreline Management Master Program in July of 1999. Shorelines for lakes in this category are considered to encompass land 200 feet from the ordinary high water mark. The Shoreline Management Master Program regulates activities within this area and should be consulted regarding activities along the shoreline. The Department of Ecology as well as Stevens County has responsibility for enforcement of these regulations.

The Wetlands
At one time, back in the 1930s, Loon Lake was nearly surrounded with wetlands. Most of the east side of the lake was wetland. Over the years the wetlands have given way to housing development. Very little shoreline of the lake remains undeveloped. Only about 4% of the original wetlands are intact. About the only land on the shores of Loon Lake that remain undeveloped are wetlands, Anderson Meadow, McVey Meadow and Pearson Meadow. There is little doubt where these wetlands are located. These three wetlands appear on the National Inventory of Wetlands map, the Tri-County Provisional Wetlands Inventory maps, the Eastern Washington University Provisional Inventory maps, the Stevens County Basic Plan maps, and the Loon Lake Sub-Area Plan Zoning map. Exact boundaries of each of the wetlands must be established by field delineations by a qualified wetland expert.

According to RCW 36.70A.030(20), “wetlands are defined as areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from non-wetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a roads, streets, or highways. Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from non-wetland areas created to mitigate conversion of wetlands.”

Wetlands help protect the public health, safety, and welfare by providing the following beneficial functions:

  • flood storage, moderating surface and storm water flows
  • erosion control, the reduction of siltation
  • prime habitat for aquatic, terrestrial, and avian species
  • passive recreation
  • water quality protection, the reduction of ground water and surface water pollution
  • water storage
  • areas of recharge and discharge for lakes and groundwater aquifers
  • education and scientific research

In the literature about wetlands, much detail is given to the value of various kinds of wetlands. A system of establishing Categories of wetlands has been established. The Washington State Wetlands Rating System for Eastern Washington has a “Four-Tier System.” All categories of wetlands have valuable functions. Category I is the highest, being wetlands of vital importance and Category IV being wetlands of least importance. Each Category has a list of criteria one must use in determining whether a wetland fits that tier. One usually finds these Categories and the criteria in the county Shoreline Master Program and in the Growth Management Critical Area Ordinance. These two documents are required by law to use similar criteria so that there is less confusion.

As required by RCW 90.58.030 (2e) Stevens County in its Shoreline Master Program (pages 20-21) has designated Shorelines of Statewide Significance. Deer Lake, Loon Lake and Long Lake have shorelines of statewide significance. Stevens County Code Title 13, Critical Areas Ordinance enacted in 2004, should be consulted for detailed information regarding activities in wetlands.


The term “buffer” in the most general sense refers to a vegetated area that separates land uses. Buffers may surround wetlands or be adjacent to riparian areas with the intent of protecting those areas from adverse impacts. Fish and wildlife take advantage of the diversity of resources provided by buffers for habitat, breeding and movement. Low impact uses and activities, which are consistent with the purposes and function of the buffer and which do not detract from its integrity, may be permitted within the buffer. (See page 36, Title 13, Critical Areas Ordinance for details.) Buffers are measured from the delineated boundary of the wetland. Delineation means the determination of an area’s boundaries in the field according to the application of specific methodology by an agency or qualified professional. In the case of a wetland the delineation is done in accordance with the Washington State Wetlands Rating System for Eastern Washington.

Buffer requirements for “lakes of statewide significance” within Stevens County are found in the Stevens County Critical Areas Ordinance on page 13 as follows:

  • Category 1: High intensity land use 300 feet / low intensity land use 200 feet
  • Category 2: High intensity land use 200 feet / low intensity land use 100 feet

A definition of high and low intensity land use is also found on this same page.


Part 2
Lakeshore Stewardship, Water Quantity, Water Quality

Lakeshore Stewardship
Shoreline landscaping can have a major impact on swimming, boating and fishing in the lake. Why? Because toxins from storm water runoff, pesticides and fertilizers can lower water quality, trigger algae bloom, kill fish and cause excessive weed growth.

“Lake friendly” landscaping reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers, helps filter harmful contaminants out of runoff before they pollute the lake and helps control erosion.

Problem: Widespread use of lawn and garden fertilizers on shoreline property can cause nutrients to build up in the water. Rain and irrigation washes fertilizers out of yards and gardens into the lake. Fertilizer buildup in the lake results in rapid aquatic plant growth and algal blooms, which hamper swimming and boating activities and kill fish. Careless discarding of lawn clippings and yard debris near the lake will also cause excess nutrients to pollute the lake.

Solution: Leave some native vegetation along your shoreline. If native vegetation is gone, reduce the size of your lawn and plant native trees, shrubs and ground cover. Native plants require fewer pesticides and fertilizers, and once established, need less water than exotic ornamental varieties. Create buffer areas with native plants to act as natural filter systems, trapping nutrients from storm water runoff before they enter the lake. Dispose of lawn clippings and yard debris or start compost piles well away from the lake or nearby streams or wetlands.


Problem: Pesticides commonly used around homes and gardens (such as diazinon, dursban and orthene) and herbicides (such as Weed and feed and Round Up can cause serious damage to fish, wildlife and people when they get into the lake. They may be blown directly into the lake when applied on a windy day or washed off plants and soil by rain or watering. Improper storage and disposal of these chemicals can also pollute the lake.

Solution: Always read labels carefully and choose products that are environmentally friendly. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides whenever possible, especially on windy days. Use pesticides only when you see a pest. Dispose of unused pesticides and containers at the local hazardous waste disposal site.

Problem: Bulkheads. A bulkhead is not the best or only way to prevent erosion. They interrupt natural shoreline vegetation and transfer the beneficial aspects of a natural shoreline to neighboring sites. Bulkheads also create unnatural drop offs that can be especially dangerous for children and elderly.

Solution: Planting and maintaining natural vegetation instead of constructing a bulkhead will control soil erosion and runoff, provide a more gradual transition from yard to lake and enhance wildlife habitat.

Problem: Non-migrating Canada Geese. Manicured non-native lawns and the feeding of such type of lawns encourage nuisance populations of Canada geese. They like to feed on green, grassy lawns. Bird feces on docks and lawns can contribute to excessive nutrients to the lake water in addition to being unsightly, unsanitary and unsafe.

Solution: Replace lawn next to the lake with a six to eight foot wide buffer zone of low growing plants. Consider placing a path through the buffer zone for lake access to dock or beach. For the gardening enthusiast, the buffer zone can be an ideal area for perennial flower or herb gardens or a bed of wildflowers.

Remember, a lake friendly landscape plan does not mean building a barrier of native vegetation between your home and the lake. A balanced approach to waterfront landscaping retains natural habitat and reduces pollution and erosion while also meeting your aesthetic and access needs.

Water Quantity
The amount of water in the lake is absolutely critical for all of the beneficial uses. That there will always be a sufficiency of water in the lake should not be taken for granted.

Loon Lake has the smallest watershed (drainage area) in relation to the surface water area of any lake in the State of Washington. A lake depends principally on its surface watershed, of which the lake is a part, for its annual water recharge. Loon Lake is continually in a precarious position with regard to being able to reach its adjudicated maximum lake level.

Because of its extremely small watershed, Loon Lake is unable to "average the local weather patterns." Essentially this means that many local storms miss Loon Lake entirely because of its small watershed area and the fact that storm clouds move irregularly during storms. This is one of the reasons for the large variation in lake level. There is a second reason for the variation. The subsurface water area (aquifer) of the watershed is relatively small in relation to the lake surface water area (approximately 600-700 acres). This is why during the summer months the lake can drop nearly an inch a day due to evaporation from the hot dry surface winds. The subsurface recharge capacity of the watershed is able to slow the rate at which the lake level drops by about one half.

Looking at a map showing the lake bottom contours, it shows that the 5-foot contour on the east side of the lake runs along 8500 feet of lakeshore. This area is at risk of being a mud flat once again, just as it was in the 1930s, if the lake level drops as it did then. Keep in mind that the 1930s low lake level occurred even before the Stevens County Superior Court reduced the maximum level that the lake could reach. This court imposed maximum level 3.5 feet below the 1948 high water mark. In other words, we start each water year with less water nowadays.

Historical data indicates that approximately 20 percent of the lakeshore frontage is subject to substantial economic damage if the lake level continues to drop. Loon Lake needs to keep every drop of water that falls on the watershed in the watershed so that there will be a chance of having sufficient water for the survival of the lake. Great care must be taken to prevent reduction in the water recharge capacity of the remaining undeveloped area of the lake’s upland watershed. Our enjoyment of the lake and the value of our properties depend upon it.

Examination of local weather data indicates that the average net evaporation for Loon Lake from June through September is 31.6 inches. However, lake level records show that average lake level drop for this same period is only 14.2 inches. Where does the additional 17.4 inches come from? It comes from the watershed aquifer. There are three sources of water for Loon Lake: (1) Precipitation that drops onto the lake’s surface, (2) precipitation that drops in the watershed and runs into the lake, and (3) springs fed by the aquifer. There are five ways that the lake loses water: (1) we let it out through the control gates, (2) surface evaporation, (3) the lake leaks, (4) withdrawal from shallow wells adjacent to the lake, and (5) direct withdrawal from the lake for irrigation purposes.

Water Quality
In the past there have been occasional tests of the quality of water in the lake. (See, bibliography Loon Lake Water Testing Data.) In order to know what is taking place in the water, a regular science based program has been developed. Loon Lake began a volunteer citizen "ambient monitoring" program in 2007. The purpose of this kind of program is to describe the existing conditions and long-term trends in water quality at consistent intervals over a long period of time. This monitoring program will involve the monitoring of a few parameters on a routine basis (some every two weeks and others monthly) over a number of years.

Loon Lake is a deep lake, approximately 100 feet at its deepest point. Water near the surface is very different physically, chemically, and biologically from the water near the bottom. The bottom portion of the lake receives little or no light. The water is colder. It is not mixed by the wind. Decay of dead organic matter is the main physical, biological and chemical activity. In the shallows the lake it is the same from top to bottom. The water is well mixed by wind. Temperature and oxygen vary little with depth. Because Loon Lake has no surface inlets or outlets it flushes very slowly, taking approximately 9 years for an average molecule of water from entry to departure (mostly through evaporation.) Therefore, water sampling and water column monitoring is done at a single location, the deepest part of the lake.

A parameter is simply a single element of a monitoring program. In the present Loon Lake program the parameters are: temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, Secchi disk depth, nutrients, and chlorophyll a. Nutrient parameters include phosphorus and nitrogen. Most of these parameters are related to each other. For example, there is a powerful relationship between water temperature and dissolved oxygen. Warm water holds less oxygen than cool water, so warm water may be saturated with oxygen but still not contain enough for survival of aquatic life.

During late spring the water in Loon Lake separates into layers of distinctly different temperatures. This process is called thermal stratification. The surface water is warmed by the sun but the bottom of the lake remains cold. It remains so until the air temperature cools again in the fall. Because these layers do not mix they develop different physical and chemical characteristics. When the surface water cools again in the fall the stratification is lost and the layers mix. This process is called fall turnover. A similar process may occur in the spring as colder surface waters warm to the temperature of bottom waters and the lake mixes. The lake mixing associated with spring and fall turnover corresponds with a large increase in turbidity (cloudy or muddy appearance).

Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
Fish and other aquatic organisms need oxygen to live. Oxygen is produced during photosynthesis and consumed during respiration and decomposition. Photosynthesis occurs only during daylight hours. Respiration and decomposition, on the other hand, occurs 24 hours a day. During the night DO concentrations steadily decline. Where the air and water meet, this causes oxygen molecules in the air to dissolve into the water. More oxygen dissolves into water when wind stirs the water and as waves create more surface area. Dissolved oxygen concentrations may change dramatically with depth. Oxygen production occurs in the top portion of the lake where sunlight drives the engines of photosynthesis. Oxygen consumption is greatest near the bottom of the lake where sunken organic matter decomposes. Water temperatures during summer speed up the rates of photosynthesis and decomposition. As plants die at the end of the growing season, their decomposition results in heavy oxygen consumption. Other seasonal events such as changes in water levels and the presence of ice cover cause natural variation in DO concentrations. Nutrients that stimulate growth of organic matter cause a decrease in average DO concentrations. If the organic matter is weed or algal, then at least some oxygen is produced during its growth to offset the eventual loss of oxygen during decomposition. However, if a nutrient is brought in from outside the lake the balance between oxygen production and oxygen consumption becomes skewed and low DO becomes a problem.

The pH scale is from 0 to 14. Substances with a pH level of 7 are neutral. Substances with a pH below 7 are acidic. The pH level of water determines the amount of chemical constituents that may be dissolved into it. Photosynthesis causes pH to increase. Therefore pH may be higher during daylight hours and the growing season. Respiration and decomposition lowers pH. As a result, and like dissolved oxygen concentrations, pH changes with depth. The pH scale of Loon Lake hovers between 6.5 and 8.5. Although changes in pH are typically small they greatly influence the solubility and therefore the availability of all chemical forms in the lake. For example, a change in pH may increase the solubility of phosphorus making it more available for plant growth and resulting in greater long-term demand for dissolved oxygen.

Secchi Disk Depth
A Secchi disk is a circular plate divided into quarters painted alternatively black and white. The disk is attached to a rope and lowered into the water until it is no longer visible. Secchi disk depth is a measure of water clarity. Although it is only an indicator, Secchi disk depth is the simplest and one of the most effective tools for estimating a lake's productivity. Secchi disk readings begin to decrease in the spring, with warm water temperatures and increased growth, and continue decreasing until algal growth peaks in the summer. As cooler weather sets in and growth decreases, Secchi disk readings increase again. As the surface water cools, the thermal stratification created in summer weakens and the lake mixes. The nutrients thus released from the bottom layer of water cause a fall algae bloom and the resultant decrease in Secchi disk readings. Pollution tends to reduce water clarity. Watershed development and poor land and beach landscaping practices cause increases in erosion, organic matter and nutrients, all of which cause increases in suspended particulates and algae growth.

Nitrogen and Phosphorus are the primary nutrients of concern at Loon Lake. They serve the same basic functions as nutrients in garden soil. They are essential for growth. In a garden, growth and productivity are considered beneficial, but this is not so in a lake. The algae and other plant growth allowed by nutrients are beneficial only up to a point. Nutrient sources include storm water runoff which carries fertilizers from lawns and cropland as well as organic matter such as leaves, grass and insects; waste products from farm animals and domestic pets; lakeside and watershed septic systems. If nutrients enter as organic matter they first need to be decomposed before they can be utilized for growth. Temperature becomes important because of its effect on the rate of decomposition. These dynamics are further complicated by the fact that increased growth leads to greater numbers of organisms, which quickly use up available nutrients. So, as nutrients become available they are immediately used. Nutrient concentrations vary with water depth. Near the top of the lake where light stimulates algae growth, nutrient concentrations are higher than in deeper parts of the lake.These high concentrations reflect the concentration of organic matter. However, because organisms are using the nutrients, available nutrient concentrations may be low. Since decomposition of organic matter occurs near the bottom of the lake, available nutrient concentrations are typically high in deeper water. Obviously a clear understanding of nutrient concentrations is not a simple matter.

Clorophyll a
Chlorophyll a is a measure of the portion of the green pigment in photosynthesizing plants (algae) found in a lake. The amount of algae found in a lake greatly affects the lake's physical, chemical and biological makeup. Algae produce oxygen during daylight hours but use up oxygen during the night and again when they die and decay. Decomposition of algae also causes release of nutrients to the lake which allows more algae to grow. The presence of algae in the water column is the main factor affecting Secchi disk readings. Green scum, swimmers itch, and rotting scent are common problems associated with high algae concentrations. Algae population, and therefore chlorophyll a concentrations, vary with lake depth. Algae must stay within the top portion of the lake were there is sunlight. The most common concern associated with pollution or development of a lake's watershed is the increase in nutrients in the lake. Lack of nutrient limits the number of algae which can grow. Increased nutrients caused by pollution results in more algae which causes aesthetic problems.

The test data from all of the water quality testing which has been done and which will be done is placed in the History Room managed by the Loon Lake Historical Society. The data is open to the public and can be accessed by visiting the Old Schoolhouse and asking to see these test results.

The lake is showing signs of stress. This includes frequent midsummer algal blooms. There is a proliferation of submergent plant growth. Extremely low water is becoming the norm. The lake has reached adjudicated level in only one of the last five years. Recharge from the aquifer usually ameliorates the evaporation rate by a third to a half if the aquifer is sufficiently recharged. This water source seems to be diminishing. Silt accumulations are accelerating. Department of Fish and Wildlife studies made in 1995 and 2005 show an alarming decrease in the amount of dissolved oxygen below the epilimnion (Webster: “the water layer overlying the thermocline of the lake,” thermocline being “the stratified water separating water oxygen-rich surface water from cold oxygen-poor deep water”). These findings have been reinforced by the 2007 and 2008 water quality monitoring program of the LLPOA.

As a result of these observations there has been growing and vocal citizen concern that Loon Lake may be in serious trouble. There are many instances of poor beach management. The County's plan for development within the watershed does not recognize the lake’s dependency on its upland watershed and does not protect the lake’s frailties. This water monitoring program will help to determine the direction of future regulation of the lake, its shoreline and its watershed.

In the next and final issue of the Loon Lake Landowner’s Handbook the subjects of invasive plants such as Eurasian milfoil, reed canary grass, and fragrant water lily will be discussed.


If you have any comments or concerns regarding the materials

presented in this handbook,

please contact Jim Davies at 509-233-2651


Meeting Notices




Next meeting


July 18

6:30 p.m.


Old Schoolhouse

4000 Colville Rd

Loon Lake


Meetings are

2nd Thursday monthly



Email us at:


Loon Lake Property Owners Association

PO Box 165

Loon Lake, WA 99148


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only $50 per family





Check the calendar for additional upcoming events and activities 



Lake Management District Advisory Committee


August 5th

6:30 p.m.


Fire Station

Loon Lake


LMD Meeting

2nd Mondays

March - Oct


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