Since the original settlement of Clark County, land use changes have dramatically altered Lacamas Lake and resulted in conditions that reduce the lake's suitability for fishing, swimming, and aesthetic enjoyment.
The lake commonly has excessive algae growth and low dissolved oxygen caused by high nutrient inputs (primarily phosphorus) from its drainage basin.
The lake and its source, Lacamas Creek, have been studied for about 20 years as work progressed to reduce nutrient inputs. Grant-funded activities implemented by Clark County and other agencies between 1987 and 2001 reduced agricultural pollution sources and increased public awareness. Phosphorus concentrations were substantially reduced during this period.
Since the conclusion of grant-funded activities in 2001, Water Resources staff have continued routine monitoring of this resource to provide information for future lake management decisions.
Current and historical lake data and nutrient loading were most recently summarized in 2004. Summaries of grant funded activities from 1987 through 1998 are also available.
Since 2007, Lacamas Lake monitoring is coordinated with volunteers with the Clark County Volunteer Monitoring Program .
In September 2003, Water Resources staff completed a five-year project to estimate nutrient loading into Lacamas Lake. The project measured stream flow and concentrations of total phosphorus and suspended sediment in Lacamas Creek at Goodwin Road. Results were compared to earlier estimates calculated in the mid-1980s prior to the start of nutrient reduction work.
From May through October, Water Resources staff collect monthly vertical profiles of dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, and conductivity. Secchi-disk readings record water clarity and water samples are collected from several depths for nutrient (phosphorus and nitrogen) analyses. Chlorophyll-a data are collected periodically to help characterize overall lake conditions.
Project Contact: Jeff Schnabel
2007 Lacamas Lake Monitoring Summary (PDF -119K)
Focus: Lacamas Lake (PDF - 172)
Enlarge map of Lacamas Lake monitoring stations (PDF - 644K)
Battle Ground Lake
During the summer of 2003, Battle Ground Lake was treated with an herbicide by the Washington Department of Ecology to control an infestation of Brazilian Elodea (an invasive aquatic plant). Ecology contracted with Clark County's Water Resources Program to determine the fate and transport of the herbicide within the lake and to monitor environmental conditions resulting from the treatment.
The monitoring plan for the herbicide treatment required monitoring from May to early July for the herbicide and ambient lake parameters.
Very little historical data existed for Battle Ground Lake so, Water Resources staff continued monthly monitoring from August through October to supplement the data set for an assessment of overall lake health and to identify potential lake problems that commonly limit recreational and aquatic life uses.
The project provided information about the status of a valuable natural asset for Clark County. The Water Resources program uses this information for periodic reporting of the health of county water bodies.
Ground Lake Assessment Report (PDF - 413K)
Focus: Water Quality in Battle Ground Lake (PDF - 158K) This three- page focus sheet summarizes the findings of the Battle Ground Lake Assessment report.
Water Resources supports a volunteer monitoring project on Vancouver Lake that began in 2004. The lake is monitored twice monthly from May through October to make an assessment of current lake conditions. Standard lake parameters are tested, including nutrients, temperature, dissolved oxygen, water clarity, chlorophyll-a, and algal communities.
Since 2004, Vancouver Lake monitoring has been coordinated with volunteers with the Clark County Volunteer Monitoring Program.
Search this database for information about freshwater algae (including toxic algae) found in Washington state water bodies.