Progress on the Dam

Work continues on the reconstruction of the dam.  The house has been moved back to its original location, but about three feet higher, on the columns we saw in the earlier photos.  Pedestals have appeared on the auxiliary spillway, which will support the new, safer, all metal walkway out to the camp.IMG_5029_Snapseed

New photos taken August 20th have been added to the Dam Chronology page HERE.

Loon Update

The following was received from a LFA member who lives on the lake near the Loons’ nest:

“We can confirm that the two loons nesting on Lake Fairlee have hatched a single baby chick. I watched it swimming between the parents this evening in the vicinity of the sandbar where it was hatched. The parents are very attentive. Apparently they made all sorts of interesting calls throughout the night. We will keep a close eye on our lake’s newest resident!”

August 3, 2016 at 7:48:14 PM EDT

More Information on the Nesting Loons


We are glad to direct you to an informative article written by our friend/neighbor/photographer who captured the photos on our earlier post.  Read it HERE.

We are hoping soon to post a photo of the newly hatched baby loons.  But we need your help, and are declaring a no-contest.  Please send your entries to  No-prizes will be awarded.

Nesting Loons on the Lake

This year for the first time in many years our resident loons have successfully built a nest and are expecting.


One of the prospective parents sitting on the nest.

Their nest is located in the mouth of Blood Brook.


The loon stretches its neck and lowers its head while fishermen are nearby

As of a few days ago there are no hatchlings as yet, but the parents are tending the eggs in shifts and we are hopeful.

Please respect their privacy and give the area a wide berth.

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies operates the Vermont Loon Conservation Project.  Lots more information at their website.

Progress on the Dam

Work continues on the dam.  The house has been moved up on top of the columns we saw in the last pictures, right back in its original location, but about three feet higher.  Support pedestals have been built on top of the auxiliary spillway, which will support the new, safer, steel walkway out to the camp.


Photos from August 20th have been added to the Dam Chronology page HERE.

Reconstruction of the Dam is Underway

Yes, it is a surprise, and a very pleasant one, too.

The Tri-Town Commission has engaged a contractor, Hebert Excavation Company, of Williamstown, VT, which began work in late May.  They say that the project should be complete by the end of the summer.

(click on any of the photos to view a larger image)

May 18th

Temporary Dam

A temporary dam was constructed just upstream of the Robinson Hill Road bridge.


The water level was lowered by about four feet, exposing much of the concrete portion of the dam.  The house is still in place.  The “Shady House” (shack) at the near (north) end of the dam has been moved out of the way.

June 22nd


The house has been moved off its historic foundations, sliding south about 25 feet.


Most of the portion of the dam north of the house has been removed.  The portion that used to be under the house still remains.  Fill has been introduced into the cove, making a platform from which the construction machinery can reach the dam.


From this angle you can see the crane out in what was the cove.  The primary spillway is not underneath the house.  Later in the process the house will be moved back to the right (north) and the final portion of the dam will be demolished and rebuilt.

July 6


They are replacing the dam in sections, starting at the north (near) end.  Here they are already pouring some concrete in the first section.


At the far right are the forms and steel ready for pouring.  The big white marshmallow looking things to the left are to keep the water out of the near end where they are pouring.


The view from the southeast.  The cement apparatus is visible in the distance.


Detail here of the steel and forms ready for pouring.

July 16


Work continues across the dam.  This is the first shot that clearly shows the new bulkhead at the near end of the dam.  The digger is almost to the place where the house belongs.


Looking back at the construction.  A second look at the new bulkhead.





2015 Year End Milfoil Report Now Available

Better late than never?

The Lake Fairlee Association holds a permit from the State of Vermont that governs all phases of our milfoil control activities – including hand pulling, suction harvesting, bottom barriers, herbicide treatment, and our greeter/prevention program.  This permit requires that we conduct annual surveys of plant life in the lake, and that we file a report with the state annually.

Since 2010 we have contracted with (licensed) companies to conduct our various milfoil control activities, and they have been primarily responsible for filing these annual reports. The 2015 report was not completed and filed until July this year.  Nonetheless it contains lots of detail about Lake Fairlee’s milfoil program.  We provide it here for your information.

Click on image to download report (.pdf)

Click on image to download report (.pdf)

Lake Fairlee Dam Project on Hold

[this article was published in the Valley News and is excerpted here for private use only]

By Maggie Cassidy, Valley News Staff Writer

Friday, July 24, 2015, (Published in print: Saturday, July 25, 2015)

Contractor Parts Ways After Dispute

Thetford — The long-planned project to replace the ailing Lake Fairlee Dam this summer abruptly halted this week after the contractor and the three towns involved — Thetford, Fairlee and West Fairlee — parted ways over a dispute about the unsigned construction contract.

Speaking for the towns, Fairlee Selectboard Chairman Frank J. Barrett Jr. said the $850,000 project, which voters in the three towns approved through bond votes in May, would go back out to bid next year.

This winter, the towns plan to sandbag the dam, which is located in Thetford and controls Lake Fairlee’s shoreline, he said.

[ . . . ]

You are invited to read the rest of this longish article HERE.  The Valley News encourages you to visit their website, where everyone can read one article for free, and up to five per month at no cost by providing an email address.


Where We Treated in 2015, and Why

Chemical control of Eurasian milfoil is strictly regulated by the State.  According to the conditions of our permit we are allowed to apply triclopyr only to those “portions of the lake where EWM is too abundant (moderate to dense) to be cost-effectively managed using non-chemical techniques and is highly susceptible to fragmentation and continued spread.”  The state determines those locations based on the required quantitative aquatic plant survey from the previous fall.  Here are the results of that survey.  Red dots indicate dense milfoil, yellow is moderate, green is sparse, and empty circles indicate no milfoil found at that location.

2014 fall survey map

Click on map for larger image

These surveys are designed to take statistically accurate samples.  They do not report every instance of observed milfoil.  Rather they collect plant samples from a predetermined grid of locations and observe all the species present.  This allows the State (and us) to measure long term changes on all plant populations in the lake, to preclude unanticipated effects of the herbicide use.

Here are the results of the pre-treatment survey done this May.  For this survey every instance of observed milfoil was recorded.  Again, red circles are dense patches, etc.  This map also shows the areas approved for herbicide application.  For the most part they coincide with many of the densest growths of milfoil.

spring survey

Click on map for larger image

The herbicide was applied in the indicated areas on Tuesday, June 16th.  Note that not every location where there is milfoil was treated.  To those (including the author) whose littoral zone contains milfoil but was not treated, we offer apologies and hope that you understand the constraints under which these treatments are done.  We understand that there are divers who are experienced with Eurasian milfoil removal who can be hired to clear it from your shoreline.