YARDLEY BOROUGH >> Yardley’s picturesque Lake Afton received some tender loving care on Saturday thanks to a small, but dedicated group of volunteers.
Dodging a few morning raindrops, they spent a good four hours pulling weeds, racking debris, trimming bushes, removing fallen branches and spreading mulch in and around the Old Library by Lake Afton.
The spring cleanup was organized by the Friends of Lake Afton (FOLA), a grassroots nonprofit dedicating to maintaining one of the community’s natural gems.
“It’s great to see people out here today helping the Lake,” said FOLA’s Vice President Nick Primola, who was pruning bushes just feet away from the entrance to the Old Library. “It’s good to see people taking the time to do this especially with all the other good things taking place this weekend.”
Nearby Julie Pasini and Chris Hayes were busy racking and removing leaves, branches and other debris around the stone patio and benches overlooking the lake.
Nearby, Carol Such, the president of the Yardley Historical Association, was doing her part, weeding near the steps leading into the Old Library.
Other volunteers, including Dave Bortnichak and his son, Sam, along with Dave Bowker and his daughter, Carly, and FOLA treasurer Marna Matthews kept busy spreading mulch in the various planting beds in and around the Old Library.
Saturday’s cleanup focused its attention exclusively in and around the Old Library, an area where the public gathers to enjoy the Lake and its wildlife.
“We’re focusing on this area today because a lot of people tend to gather here for pictures,” said Primola, who grew up just a block away from the Lake. “There are a lot of confirmations going on. We have graduations coming up and wedding season. We want to get this area here looking great.”
Almost on cue, a family made its way over to the lakeshore from the nearby St. Andrew’s Church to take their confirmation photos.
In addition to the spring spruce up, Primola said the Friends continue their efforts to keep the algae blooms under control. For the past several years they have brought in paid professionals to treat the Lake.
“The algae seems to be more under control than it was. It’s never gone, but it’s not as much of an uphill battle than what it was. We have it manageable in a normal way,” said Primola. In addition to addressing the algae issue, FOLA will be focusing its energies this year on addressing an erosion issue that has carved out a gully from the St. Andrew’s parking lot, across the yard behind the Old Library and into the Lake.
“It’s like the Grand Canyon,” said Primola of the gully, which funnels runoff and sediment into the lake during rain events, adds to the silt level of the lake and has created an unsafe walking surface.
Dave Bowker will be heading up the erosion project, which will include installation of a drain along the church’s parking lot that will redirect the water flow to a storm sewer pipe that will separate out the silt before it reaches the lake
Looking ahead, FOLA will hold its second boat ride fundraiser of the year on Saturday, June 8 from 12 to 4 p.m. For a small donation, members of the public can take a canoe or pedal boat on a ride across the lake.
A third boat ride fundraiser is scheduled for Harvest Day, which takes place in September.
Donations can be mailed to the Friends of Lake Afton, P.O. Box 529, Yardley 19067 or donate through PayPal on the FOLA website, www.LakeAfton.org
Donations will be used to defer the cost for algae treatments by Clean-Flo, International ($10,000 and $15,000 a year); an aggressive biological treatment schedule; nutrient sponges; black dye; aerator maintenance; electric bill for aerators ($800 a year); routine and emergency cleaning of outflow and inflow areas with heavy equipment ($2,000 a year); lawn mowing and weed-whacking between St. Andrew’s Church and Starbucks (between $600 and $800 a year); landscaping materials for spring and fall volunteer day ($1,000 a year); park benches and trash cans when needed ($1,000/trash can and about $2,000/bench); and unanticipated maintenance and emergency issues.