Pollution and sediment buildup are rapidly turning the University Lakes in Baton Rouge into a swamp, an LSU AgCenter researcher says.

Over the years, the lake has become more shallow, Yi Jun Xu, associated professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, said in a news release.

For the past three years, Xu has used funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents Equipment Enhancement Fund to study the lake’s health.

Xu and his graduate students receive measurements of the dissolved oxygen, pH and water temperature every 15 minutes from equipment in the lake. He said his data can be used by state agencies and others interested in water quality.

Until funds are available for dredging, the public and residents along the lake need to be aware of what’s getting into the lake.

“You would be surprised at some of the things we find in the lake,” Xu said. “We see anything from bottles to tires to refrigerators.”

Xu realizes the importance of the lake to LSU as a symbol when entering campus and says everything possible must be done to keep the lake healthy.

“This is really important research because so many people use the lake and we need to make sure that it stays healthy and something we can be proud to show off,” Xu said.