Lake management company Northwest Aquatic Eco-Systems announced its closure on Saturday, January 24.
The company has been providing aquatic weed and algae removal services since 1981, serving local lakes such as Hicks Lake in Lacey and Barnes Lake in Tumwater. In recent years, the company also worked on Lake Steilacoom in Lakewood, Lake Sawyer in Black Diamond, various Skagit County lakes, and Ocean Shores' canals.
The company attributed its closure to the passing of Tumwater resident and aquatic biologist Douglas Dorling, the company’s founder and owner, who passed away at the age of 72 on January 17 after battling idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
“The decision to close our doors was not made lightly, but we believe it is the most fitting tribute to honor Doug’s lifelong dedication to lake management,” the company stated in a Facebook post.
The Dorling family opened a memorial fund with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation under Douglas Darling’s name. Donations to the organization can be made through its website.
Northwest Aquatic Eco-Systems has been providing its services to Barnes Lake since 2007. At a meeting on Wednesday, January 31, the Barnes Lake Management District Steering Committee discussed the implications of the company’s closure.
Tumwater Water Resources and Sustainability Director Dan Smith told the committee that replacing Dorling and his company would be a “hard act to follow.”
“Doug certainly provided a level of service that he certainly didn't see compensation for,” Smith said adding, “He's always the guy that just enjoyed giving back and beyond that, he was just a character.”
Smith said he is working on a request for proposal (RFP) based on their last contract with Northwest Aquatic Eco–Systems. Once the RFP is issued, Smith said that the deadline for proposals would be at February 29. The committee would interview the prospective firms in mid-March and notify the selected contractor by the end of that month.
The director advised the committee that they might only get a little work done this year because contractors would already have their schedules filled.
“There's more work than there are providers and most of them are going to have their treatment programs lined out. I think we need to be prepared that we might not get a lot of service this year and try and pick it up again next year” Smith said.
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