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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
What happened to Freedom Lake?
April 2009

As you make your way down Freedom Boulevard west of Five Mile Corner, a once rich and beautiful lake looks now like a brown meadow. This 25-acre lake is completely covered by invasive water hyacinth, (one of the fastest growing plants in the world).

Freedom Lake, known also as Corralitos Lagoon and Scott Lake, has been a popular fishing spot and home to over 130 species of birds. The lake is unusable for boating or fishing, be you bird or mammal. This infestation also poses increased danger to area homes from flooding, and the stagnant water could cause a spike in the mosquito population.

Freedom Lake and the adjacent Scott Park land was given to the County of Santa Cruz in 1971 by Bert Scott, former CEO of Granite Construction. He wanted this valuable resource maintained as a public park and wildlife habitat. The bequest also included the Scott’s home on 35 acres across Freedom Boulevard from the lake.

The water hyacinth growth has gone unchecked for over 4 years. The cost to remediate the lake was bid at close to $1 million by a reputable Sacramento firm. That kind of money is not easy to find and the County staff has been in search of grants and other agency funding to cover the expense.

A group of Friends of Freedom Lake has come together to advocate for the lake and support County staff in restoring the lake. If you would like to help bring the recreational and wildlife value back to Freedom Lake, contact the group at 724-5526, 426-9777, or .

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