Algae on Greenfield Lake a growing problem

The City of Wilmington's web site says that Greenfield lake is a 150 acre lake that reflects the surrounding natural beauty. Families of all species come here to relax, nap and give the kids a chance to get outside.

But in the early fall every year the lake doesn't reflect much of anything.

"It looks like astro turf," says Rudy Bellamy, a park visitor. "It looks like I can walk right across it"

"It's an eyesore and if it's really hot it smells," says Kathleen McCarthy, another visitor to the park. "It seems to be getting worse every year."

Algae blooms flourish in the nitrogen rich water. And while it's good for the algae, it's hard on the eyes.

"It's too bad," says Mayor Pro Tem Laura Padgett. "It's a very valuable asset, and we really need to get it cleaned up."

The city has tried draining and dredging, but the problem continues to get worse.

"One year the city sprayed it, but other weeds come in to take it's place," Padgett says.

One solution is to stock algae eating carp, but that particular fish does not reproduce, so once they eat all they can, and they're gone.

The quick fix, like the carp, isn't a solution though, experts say.

"Trying to get the residents in the area and the Cape Fear Country Club to reduce the amount of nutrients that they use for fertilizer," could be another solution according to Dixon Baldridge of the Cape Fear River Watch.

That seems to be the only long term fix.

"The city does an excellent job with the maintenance of the park," Baldridge says. "It's in excellent shape, except for the water."

That water, though, is the reason many people say they visit the park.

The City of Wilmington says $75,000 will be allocated next year for clean-up of the lake, but for this year, park officials say they just have to wait until the weather cools off and kills the algae before the lake will reflect the park's beauty again.

Reported by Colin Hackman