Archive for Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Salvage mission

Kansas University officials need to step in and help the students trying to save Potter Lake.

October 7, 2009


For pure “ick” factor, it would be hard to top the job a group of Kansas University students undertook Saturday at KU’s Potter Lake.

The university should appreciate students’ efforts to clean up the increasingly polluted lake, but this job clearly demands some professional attention.

Fed by fertilizer-rich runoff from the surrounding area, the bottom of Potter Lake is covered with plant material that robs the water of oxygen and kills the lake’s fish. The top of the lake is completely covered with green watermeal that further complicates the situation. It’s an eyesore and likely a potential health hazard for the campus.

The student-organized Potter Lake Project deserves credit for its work to improve the lake’s condition. With the help of alumni donors, the group has purchased an aeration system to provide more oxygen to the lake and a skimmer to help remove the watermeal. The real proof of the students’ dedication, however, is their willingness to venture into the lake, as they did last Saturday, to physically pull out thousands of pounds of coontail that now infests the lake bottom.

The students are slowly improving the lake’s condition, but they need more help. What the lake really needs, one of the student organizers told the Journal-World, is to be dredged, a project that hasn’t been done for about 50 years and will cost $50,000 to $100,000. It’s a lot of money, but not more than one would expect to correct 50 years of neglect.

Many KU alumni have fond memories of walks to the lake and special campus activities that were held there. A number of those alumni already have stepped up to help, and the KU Endowment Association surely could find a few more who would be disappointed to see Potter Lake in its current slimy condition.

KU officials should be grateful for all the time and effort students have put into this cleanup effort, but the students can’t do it alone. It’s time for administrators to step in with a little money and manpower to restore what should be a beautiful landmark on the KU campus.


LogicMan 8 years, 7 months ago

"is to be dredged"

Actually drained (again) and shoveled out. I remember they found a cash register and some other interesting things in there one time they drained it.

But this time strong retaining walls need to be installed along much or all of the northern three sides to reduce soil getting in there, and to make the lake deeper and colder.

KU_cynic 8 years, 7 months ago

I heard that several layers down in the muck they found where former Chancellor Bob Hemenway's integrity had sunk.

Phillbert 8 years, 7 months ago

Yes, because posting anonymous slams - on state time, if your profile is to be believed - really shows a lot of integrity.

The guy's been gone for months. Find a new obsession.

Jack Martin 8 years, 7 months ago

The University of Kansas greatly appreciates the work of the students involved in the Potter Lake Project, which is why KU has been working closely with them on the cleanup of this campus landmark. 

Staff from the Kansas Biological Survey, Design and Construction Management, and faculty and staff from various KU departments interested in environmental studies have all been working in conjunction with the Potter Lake Project. 

KU Endowment has raised about $21,000 so far for this project. Those funds paid for the original tests and continued monitoring, as well as for the installation of aerators last month. Additional funds are needed. Anyone who wants to make a gift for the project can do so at

You can learn more in this September article from the Oread:  And anyone wanting to get involved can call Marion Paulette with KU Design and Construction Management at (785) 864-3306.

d_prowess 8 years, 7 months ago

This would be a nice project for one of those donors that holds football so dear to their heart since the lake is a fixture on game days. They spend the money to make the football team and the environment on game days the best possible and I would consider the lake part of that environment since people tailgate close to it.

bankboy119 8 years, 7 months ago


What? I've not heard about the WV logo. Could you elaborate please? And yes, $90k was (and always will be) ridiculous to spend on that plain logo. If I knew I could get paid $45k per letter I design I would have focused more on art in school.

GardenMomma 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they're waiting for the $600,000 from Joe College?

(that's sarcasm - before everyone jumps on me.)

penguin 8 years, 7 months ago

Actually the Trajan font was used by Kutztown U in Pennsylvannia.

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