Jack Jackson. (Photo courtesy of For the Love of the Lake.)

A 16-year-old Sea Scout is embarking on a yearslong project to test E. coli levels in White Rock Lake and record lake depths to provide facts for the dredging debate, according to For the Love of the Lake.

Jack Jackson, a sophomore at The Cambridge School of Dallas, started his project at the end of September. He measured water quality at four locations, and he will return to each spot on the same day each month, at roughly the same time.

He’ll use the White Rock Boat Club’s motor board to get around the lake for the first year of testing.

Jackson started the project in July after speaking with Richard Grayson, a leader of the Texas Stream Team. The team is aligned with For The Love Of The Lake, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers support programs to preserve and enhance White Rock Lake Park.

Grayson said he jumped at Jackson’s offer to complement testing that volunteers have done for 15 years. They measure water quality in all the streams flowing into White Rock Lake. But no individual or group has routinely tested the water quality of the lake itself, Grayson said.

The tests include an advanced one for e-coli levels, which have increased as upstream pollutants multiply with suburban growth.

“I wanted to do something that I’d be proud of” Jackson said.

At a meeting in early September, For the Love of the Lake board members said they would consider budgeting money for Jackson’s project in the 2020 budget.

The project is one of eight requirements that Jackson must complete to earn the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award, the highest award in the organization. He must “plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project that is helpful to any religious institution, school or community.”

Jackson already knows about top awards. Before joining the Sea Scouts, he was a land-based Boy Scout who achieved the highest honor in that organization, Eagle Scout.

— Gordon Hunter

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