Medi-Park Lake looks low on water, but high on trash

Medi-Park Lake is a drainage or runoff lake, meaning runoff from rainfall fills it. However, with Amarillo having a dry winter, there wasnâ??t enough water runoff to fill the lake. Now with the low water levels, trash is visible along the sides of the lake and ducks perch themselves on cinder blocks stacked in the water. Residents say they are dismayed by the lackluster look of the park.

â??Itâ??s been dry for a couple of months or so. It really needs cleaning up. Thereâ??s stuff in the middle of it thatâ??s never been picked up for years. They can still clean itup and make it look nice, even though thereâ??s no water in it,â?? said Amarillo resident, Jeff Young.

â??Iâ??ve been working here and walking around here since the trees were short and it was new and it was beautiful, but now I see, despite the low level of water, I see a lot of trash,â?? said Pia Habersang, an Amarillo resident and nurse practitioner who works nearby.

The city says they have no plans to fill up the lake any time soon. Since the lake was built for runoff, if it is dry, it will simply remain that way unless there is rain sometime soon.

â??We would never pump water out of the ground to fill those areas for aesthetics. It has to be from runoffs. When those are running high, itâ??s because weâ??ve had a lot of run or weâ??ve had drainageâ?¦but if thereâ??s no water there, itâ??s indicative to how dry itâ??s been,â?? said Mayor Harpole.

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say a good rainfall could easily fill up the lake once again since it is a shallow city park lake. Despite the trash, they also say that they already re-stocked the lake with trout in March and are planning to stock it with catfish in April. John Clayton, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Fishery Biologist, says the water levels are fine and that the trash has not affected the quality of the water for the fish. He also mentioned that, to his knowledge, the city comes through periodically and picks up trash.

â??You know, with any city park lake, thereâ??s going to be a high load of nutrients due to all the city run off so you certainly wouldnâ??t want to swim in it or drink that water, however, thereâ??s really no fear of contamination. So the fish that are caught out of there are safe to consume,â?? said Clayton.

If today is any indication, regardless of the low water levels, Amarillo residents will still flock to the area to enjoy the warmer weather as springtime approaches.