The pride of Payson, Green Valley Park and its lakes, has gone through some tough times in recent weeks.
The algae has been a constant problem, and now a fish kill. Thousands of crappie have died from unknown causes. With the fish kill has come some terrible odors, driving people away from the area.
The Payson Parks and Recreation Department, along with Arizona Fish and Game officials, have been testing the water and trying to determine the cause of the fish kill. So far, state officials said they don't know the cause.
They have suspicions, but no concrete reason. A type of bacteria has been found in an unknown type of algae that has been depleting the oxygen and killing certain fish, mostly crappie.
It is important to understand that some algae are good for the lakes. Parks and Recreation manager Rick Manchester said blue-green and golden algae are good for the fish ecosystem, as they help create oxygen for the fish.
Another problem facing park users is that some individuals who walk their dogs, don't pick up after pets. It is the responsibility of pet owners who walk their dogs at the park to pick up the droppings left by their animals. Pet owners should not expect others, including town park workers to clean up their dog's mess. It might be helpful for dog owners to bring some extra bags to the park and put them in the receptacle for people to use. Dog owners who use the Rumsey Park off-leash park constantly re-supply the receptacle there with plastic bags that can be used to clean up a pet's droppings.
Residents have an expectation that Green Valley Park will remain a special place to go for a walk, to play or just to sit in the grass. We hope the town working with state officials can determine what caused the fish kill and prevent it from happening again.
We also hope that park users, those with and without pets, will help keep the park clean by throwing away their trash after enjoying the area.