Lake discussion

Initial Discussion December 15th Submissions

Lake Photo Album



For the record, in early 2004 the Mayor of Daphne, Harry Brown, and the City's Public Works Director, Ken Eslava, came before the Board of Directors to discuss a plan for erosion control involving the lake.  During the discussion, it was suggested that the City's efforts at obtaining funding would be helped if the lake actually belonged to Daphne instead of being a private lake.  After some discussion that night and during subsequent meetings, the Board agreed to offer the lake to the City of Daphne.  A resolution was made, voted on, and passed by a unanimous vote of the Board.  The resolution was immediately published and signed by the president, Mitch Davis, and turned over the Ken Eslava.  This would have been around March or April of 2004.  At some point during the summer, it was reported that the City Council was not aware of the resolution.  The president, Mitch Davis, called Mr. Eslava and asked about the status of the project and whether or not he had in fact received the resolution.  He said that he did have it among other materials that he was assembling for his presentation to the City Council.  He said that he was preparing a complete proposal with plans and funding options along with the resolution.  This writer does not know if Mr. Eslava was ever able to actually present his plan. We understand that since that time the City Council of Daphne has decided against accepting ownership of the lake.

Over the years there have be a number of initiatives to search for a solution to the Lake Forest lake problem.  When Malcolm Macphee was president of the association, one of these efforts brought together representatives from several private and government agencies.  Some time later another such group including many of the same people was assembled once again.  Unfortunately, neither of these initiatives were successful at finding a solution.  Presently in 2006 another group including representatives of several government entities is trying to succeed where those in the past have not.  John Peterson is serving as Lake Chairman and working closely with this team.

The above narrative describes at least four separate, unrelated initiatives on the part of numerous people dedicated to finding a solution to the watershed problem on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.  This writer is not aware of any offers of grants by the Governor of Alabama.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that anyone with the City of Daphne or the Lake Forest Board of Directors ever interfered with the efforts that have been made over the years.

4/25/2006 From a director . . .

I want to thank those in your audience that both attended the board meeting and support my efforts as the new Lake Chairman. When I was asked to take on that issue, little did I know there would be willing helpers at every turn. In the few months I have been involved, everyone, without exception, has understood the problem and the need for direct action. There are too many to thank for their efforts in establishing a plan and seeing it begin. From government employees to politicians to ordinary citizens, the support has been wonderful. I told someone the other day that more was going on than I could have ever imagined with the lake. The city, county, state and federal governments have come together and stood together to get a plan for restoration underway. I truly would have hoped that the BOD would have given us a commitment of dollars for government to match for immediate action. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. But we shouldn't be overly concerned about this first effort. It was hastily put in front of the board trying to take advantage of low flow conditions coming into the lake. We are still forging ahead in helping the state and local governments identify problem areas and immediate projects that will aid in sediment reduction and water quality improvement. There are many people working for the long term benefit of our lake and its health. There are immediate projects being planned AND FUNDED as we speak. What better evidence is there that our voices are being heard than to see the money being spent on our problems. We must recognize that the LFPOA, one day, will have to take some maintenance responsibility. Is that 10 or 20 thousand a year, every year? We will soon know the answers to these types of questions with the studies that are being done. Then we will see where we stand on the board.

It was reported that the director withdrew the motion when it became clear that Fassbender and Moss would be able to stop it.  It appears from this submission that he will present the plan again later, perhaps in a clearer package for the board to consider.

4/20/2006  Don't think submissions are going to make it to the website this quickly every time. ;)

I would like to applaud the efforts of the lake chairman to take advantage of the condition of the lake due to the drought & fix what we can now. Carpe diem indeed!  Not only is this prudent & opportunistic, but it demonstrates his willingness to take action & take his responsibility as lake chairman seriously. It may also prevent an even worsening buildup of silt & plantlife, that if allowed to continue for two years, will get uglier becoming a major source of embarrassment to all LF residents & cost more in the long run.

I would also like to commend his inclusion of the knowledge, concerns, & efforts of other directors & lakefront property owners. His open discussions & detailed, lengthy responses to my concerns about the lake, go above & beyond the call of duty.  My optimism about the future of the lake has never been higher & I have a vision of a big, beautiful lake filled with Lake Forest kids, canoes, fishermen with their fishlickin' dogs, & me in my kayak every evening at sunset.

And how beautiful it will look as ALL Lake Forest residents drive across the BayView bridge.

4/20/2006 This came in from a director today.  Because of the importance of the issue and the timing of it, I have chosen to put it out immediately.

I hope your folks like the contributions from a director. It seems that discussions about communication and openness fail to consider that I "openly" discuss these very issues right here and in any available forum.  I am not hiding any positions or actions of mine.  If I were, would I even submit you anything?  So much for that, now on to bigger things. For Thursday, the Lake Chairman will be informing the board of the need for actual action on the lake. The request will come in the form of the LFPOA funding in partnership with city and county governments, to take clean up action. This will take time and effort to accomplish. The dredging of the D'Olive Creek delta into the lake is a good step in the right direction.  Not only that it can happen at an opportune time. The City of Daphne and the NRCS are jointly working to rechannel the D'Olive Creek from the Bayview Bridge to some point eastward. They will remove vegetation and silt in this area. This action will help lessen the impacts to the lake. In concert with that effort, if we could go ahead and do the restoration of the Bayview area, approximately 600 feet into the lake, it would be a great benefit. The problem is that restoration will cost in excess of 200 thousand dollars. If the county and city cost-shared, perhaps the three of us could get it done. The result is better water quality and less intrusion into the main part of the lake. Can it get done?  All we can do is work at it and see.  The proposal will likely have the LFPOA assessing its members to the amount that the city and county match.  If they don't pony up, the deal doesn't go.

4/20/2006 Contribution regarding the lake problem

 As my wife has pointed out, if we do not do something soon to improve the lake situation, we may need to change the name of our beautiful subdivision to: “FOREST” – since we may not have a LAKE in a few years.  Also, if the two golf courses in Lake Forest had a perimeter around each one “dug up” to the point that they could not be used as much as the lake has been “out of commission” in the past four to five years, I believe we would have had quite a “uprising” of MANY property owners complaining about the lack of maintenance on one of our cherished amenities.  Further, many of us do not use either the Golf Course or the Swim Pools, but we still continue to support ALL of the amenities here in Lake Forest and hope that all our neighbors feel the same way.



There has been an ongoing discussion of the Lake Forest lake for as many years as we can remember.  To some it is a beautiful feature of the community for which they bought their home.  For others, it is a great big pain in the neck that has been a constant source of aggravation.  It is full of huge fish and from various points offers a lovely view of the community.  It is a full of silt that has been dumped from upstream for thirty years.  Which person you are talking to will determine the description you will get.  So, the subject of this discussion is Lake Forest's lake.

When Diamondhead bought the original Lake Forest subdivision and began its major expansion, some of us wonder if they planned for a lakeside component or if they were just building something to catch the erosion from all the new construction.   Whatever the reason, the lake did serve as a catch basin for the Lake Forest development.  At a lake meeting a few years ago a representative of one of the federal agencies told us of a conversation he had with the developer at the time.  He said he advised the developer that silt would always be a problem for the lake.  This is because of the sandy soil we have in this area.   He has been proven to be correct.

Over the years the developer would have some of the silt removed periodically.  Unfortunately, the accumulation of erosion has been greater than the efforts to clean it out.

  The lake as you have seen it for the last decade or more is nothing like the original structure.  In 1975 a visitor entering from the highway 90 entrance would cross the lake at the same bridge we do now.  However. then there would have been lake on both sides of the bridge.  Those residents on Lakeview Loop owned lakefront property.  It certainly does not look like that now.  Even though most construction in Lake Forest ended almost around two decades ago, construction in the rest of the Eastern Shore has been booming.  And, since the D'Olive and Tiawasee creeks bring water from much of that area right into Lake Forest, the siltation has continued. 

What can be done?  Well, there are regulations.  So, who is expected to enforce those regulations?  City, County, State and Federal agencies are responsible for enforcing them.  So, if the regulations have been enforced, how come the lake kept filling up?  Good question.  Can you guess who is not responsible for enforcing them and who does not have the authority to do so outside the subdivision anyway?  Your property owners association, that is who. 

Complicating the situation is that construction by the City, County and State has been part of the problem.  The City has built streets and recreation facilities outside of Lake Forest.  The County has built highways and schools.  And, the State has helped both.  Those projects have created runoff that has ended up in the Lake Forest lake. 

In 1999 the association spent around $40,000 in cash and in-kind service taking silt out on the west side of that bridge.  After the dredging, the lake near the bridge had a depth of about 18 inches.  At least it did for a few days.  During the project, the contractor dug a hole west of the bridge that was thirty feet in diameter and eighteen feet deep.  It filled up three times in one week!  The pictures above show what the lake looks like now only five years later.

Over the years, representatives of the Lake Forest Property Owners Association have repeatedly asked the City, County, State and Feds for help. (See example).  The appeals have fallen on deaf ears.  The almighty dollar certainly is the reason.  A couple of years ago the Board of Directors even offered the lake to the City of Daphne for flood control.  Now we understand that the Board of Directors is back to square one. 

Were you expecting to read about a solution?  Keep checking this site.  Hopefully someone will come up with one.

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