By CNN contributor Mike O’BrienCNN producer: Jennifer WelschCNN Producer: Jessica McEvoyCNN producer, contributor: JenniferWelschSpecial Report: Cleaning the water at the lake is just the tip of the iceberg as the cleanup efforts continue for the nation’s largest freshwater lake, Oconees Clearwater.
Oconees is home to the largest amount of fish in the state.
It has been the site of a major pollution cleanup effort in recent years that has cost taxpayers nearly $2 billion.
The lake has been cleaned three times, most recently in 2017.
That work resulted in a $4.7 million cleanup in 2020, according to a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The next major cleanup, in 2019, produced more than $1.3 billion, including $1 billion for the state, according the release.
Oconeeds lake was cleared in December 2018 and the state began the process of turning it into a national monument in 2019.
The lake, which was first drained in the 1930s, sits about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Lake Tahoe.
The federal government also has protected Ocone’s lake as a National Natural Landmark.
In a joint press conference Monday, Governor Doug Burgum and Oconeeds governor, David Wooten, discussed the latest state clean-up efforts.
They called on all residents of Oconeez to join them in supporting a clean-ups effort that will ensure the lake remains clean and healthy for future generations, Burgum said.
Burgum said the state will continue to monitor and assess the lake’s condition, and the cleanup is expected to continue for many years to come.