The fishing isn't what it used to be at one local lake, and a Saint Mary's student and professor are looking to change that.
When Willard Peters throws his line out at Lake Bruce in Fulton County, he would like to catch something.
"Maybe I am not a good fisherman," says Peters who has owned a house on the lake since 1979.
Willard isn't the only vacationer on Lake Bruce who has noticed the fishing isn't as good as it was years ago.
"I've grown up here," says Amy Gillan.
Three generations of Gillan's family have vacationed in the family cottage on Lake Bruce. Gillan is a Saint Mary's professor. She is helping biology student Allison Zandarski figure out what is in the water at Lake Bruce.
The problem is, over the last several years, the seaweed on the lake has become out of the control.
Lake Bruce is a drainage pond. Zandarski says part of the issue is that all the area drainage ditches and farm fields empty into the pond.
"All of the drainage from the fields comes in and brings all the excess nutrients from those ditches into the lake. And then what you have is, from those excess nutrients, lots of plants are growing," says Zandarski.
And many of those plants are invasive species of seaweed. It has also caused a lot of algae to grow in the summer time, turning the lake green.
It is affecting fishing and boating. Fisherman say the number of fish is down and swimming and boating areas are being overtaken by invasive species.
"Which basically means it is a bad day for the lake," says Zandarski.
As part of her senior composition, a research project every graduating Saint Mary's College biology student must complete, Zandarski is studying the problem.
For the study, Zandarski collected lake water, sediment and teo different species of lake plants: an invasive species, Eurasian milfoil. And a native species, duckweed.
She separated the samples into 12 different troughs. Twice a week she tests the water quality in the 12 different samples and in the lake.
"So we are just trying to see how the different plants react with their environment and how they change the water quality of the lake," says Zandarski.
Zandarski is a little more than two weeks into the summer-long research project, but hopes to get to the bottom of the problem.
"Let the people around the lake see that someone cares about the lake and that there are major problems," says Zandarski, "to get to the bottom of those issues and I hope to help them change those in the future."
The project is twofold -- while Zandarski does her research, Gillan is recording it. She holds to develop new teaching techniques to use inside the classroom.
The research is made possible through a grant called the SISTAR grant.
Every first Monday of the Month WSBT will showcase stories of how students at local colleges are making a different Beyond the Campus. And, every Sunday in the Community section of the South Bend Tribune there are also Beyond the Campus stories.