- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) - When Jim Kulpinski moved to his home near Peregrine Lake in Palatine 44 years ago, he enjoyed the roughly 18-acre lake from the deck of his 12-foot sailboat.

But over time, as the surrounding area became more developed and the body of water more shallow, Kulpinski’s sailboat began to scrape the lake’s bottom and had to be replaced with a rowboat.

It may not be too much longer before that, too, is scraping bottom.

According to Allison Fore of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Peregrine Lake is evolving into wetlands, a natural process that might have been accelerated by an increase of sediment finding its way from the surrounding land into the lake.

At some point in the future, the Palatine lake could more closely resemble a swampy stretch of vegetation than a reflective pool of clear water.

In an effort to better understand why the process is happening and what, if anything, could be done to stop it, a group of residents calling themselves the Friends of Peregrine Lake is starting a nonprofit organization and raising about $15,000 to commission a study.

About 30 residents attended the group’s first meeting July 27.

“Our goal is to try to find more scientific information about the lake to produce actionable options,” Friends co-founder Bill Agnello said. “There’s a lot of indirect evidence that we have a problem. What our options are is less clear.”

Agnello, whose Falcon Drive home backs up to the lake, said representatives of the company that would conduct the study indicated that if dredging is the solution, it would likely cost $2 million to remove two feet of sediment.

Several residents questioned the point of funding a $15,000 study when the long-term solution might be prohibitively expensive.

But Sarah Zink, vice president of Integrated Lakes Management Inc., said the study could reveal a cheaper solution.

So far, people living around the lake have pledged $9,100 to pay for the study, and Agnello said there may be other area stakeholders who value Peregrine Lake and might contribute. Representatives from the village of Palatine, the Palatine Park District — which operates the small park on the northeast bank of the lake — and nearby Harper College, all attended last week’s meeting.

One stakeholder with no intention of funding the study is the lake’s owner, the Great Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The agency considers the changes a part of the waterway’s natural evolution.

Agnello said that while the district isn’t willing to contribute financially, he and his neighbors appreciate its willingness to let them work on the lake.

Friends of Peregrine Lake co-founder Eric Glab said that, since 2012, the district has removed weeds and other plants sprouting in the shallow lake. Without that work, the lake already would be closer to wetlands, he said.

Glab, who also lives along the lake, said it is important for residents to act now before the lake is completely full of weeds. When that happens, he said, there will be nothing left to talk about.

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Source: The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, https://bit.ly/2apUJRE

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Information from: Daily Herald, https://www.dailyherald.com

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