On August 15th the combined team, in the photo below, gathered to begin assessing the cause of increased phosphate in Lake Fairlee. Four members of the Vermont Department of Environment Conservation joined four members of the Lake Fairlee Association “Water Quality Action Committee” for a “get to know” overview of the lake. From the information gained on the tour, plans will be made for what measurements will be needed to better assess the lake health. Multiple hypotheses still remain to understand the increase of nutrients in the lake.
The mission of the Lake Fairlee Water Quality Action Committee is to develop, on behalf of the Lake Fairlee Association (LFA), a plan to deal with rising phosphate levels in Lake Fairlee. The lake is becoming eutrophic.
A eutrophic lake is characterized by an accumulation of nutrients that support a dense growth of algae, the decay of which depletes the shallow waters of oxygen in summer.
Members of the committee are Fred Peterson, Ridge Satherthwait, Cleo Kerns, John McKinley, and Dale Gephart (Chair). Minutes of the meeting will be posted along with relevant materials that are generated by the committee or other sources.
Dale Gephart presented to the attendees of the July 27, 2019 Lake Fairlee Association Meeting. Information from his presentation is available here Gephard Presentation LFA Meeting July 2019.
Posts to this blog occur at inconsistent intervals throughout the year. Recently some thoughtful member asked if there was some way one could know when something new had been added. This turned out not to be too difficult to implement, and now it is possible for you to subscribe to this blog, and receive an email notification when something is added.
In fact you can fine tune your subscription to receive notification only of posts in certain categories, such as ‘Herbicide’ or ‘The Dam.’ Also you can select whether you will receive the entire post or just the first few sentences, with a link to the complete text.
To sign up for a subscription, or to adjust the features of your subscription, look on the first page of the blog, called Welcome to Our Blog. In the right column at the bottom is the eponymous heading “Subscribe to this blog.” Voila!
[Around this time of year we mail a spring fundraising letter to our membership. This is not that letter, but it contains substantially the same points.]
The chemical treatment of the lake for milfoil in 2010 was a success. The vast majority of the E. milfoil fell to the bottom of the lake and rotted. As predicted, some milfoil has continues to grow in the lake. This may be from rootstock that survived the earlier treatment or, in some cases, from reintroduction.
As part of our five-year treatment permit, this year we are planning to aggressively pursue the surviving plants. There are isolated sparse growths in a dozen locations around the lake (based on the survey last September) and a dense patch near the mouth of Middle Brook. This summer we plan to treat the latter area with a local application of triclopyr early in the summer. We will use hand pulling to remove the stragglers in other locations and locate any others.
We have operated a greeter program to educate the lake-using public about invasive aquatic plants and animals and to prevent the further spread of milfoil into and our of our lake. This summer we intend to double the amount of coverage we provide, so that most lake boaters will be exposed to our message.
We continue to work for the health of the lake with programs designed to reduce the runoff of nutrients into the lake. In the past two years we have been awarded three grants to plant riparian buffers and restore shorelines. These grants are part of our effort to educate residents and others about lake health issues.
We continue to be concerned about the dam that maintains Lake Fairlee’s level. We are working with representatives from the three towns and the Aloha Foundation to obtain a proper engineering analysis of the present dam and explore options for repair or reconstruction of the dam, if necessary. We are thinking about how this might be funded.
This past winter the selectboards of the three towns met together twice (for the first time in recent memory) to collaborate on Lake Fairlee issues. The selectboards agreed to form a working group to consider the dam and other concerns related to Lake Fairlee. We consider this a major step forward, and are working to help advance the process.
The Lake Fairlee Association Board is suffering from declining participation. We have managed to raise the money we need to run our programs, but the work is being done buy a dwindling few volunteers. Our unpaid jobs include negotiating with the state and with Lycott on the milfoil control program, writing grants, evaluating, hiring and managing employees for the greeter program, fundraising, running the annual dinner/meeting event, preparing reports, bookkeeping and correspondence. The few carrying the load are getting burned out.
Our membership numbers have declined in recent years, from a recent high over 100 to about 60. We need to reach out and engage every owner and others nearby who use and love our lake.
We continue to need your financial support. We also need some of you to volunteer to do some small jobs – and some big ones. Please help.
The annual dinner is a great opportunity to meet other lake association members. Come to the BYO cocktail “hour” at 5:30, then enjoy an excellent dinner prepared by Barebones Catering. This will be followed by a very brief business meeting. Finally we will hear from Amy Picolette, an environmental scientist who works for the State, about the declining condition of our lake and, hopefully, what we can do about it.
This year at the dinner you can get one of our historic plaques. These are newly made, but they are the same design that has adorned houses around the lake for decades.
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You are cordially invited to attend on Saturday, July 9, 2011
at Horizons Camp, Middlebrook Rd. and Rte. 244
5:30 pm Cocktails (BYOB); Dinner and Meeting to follow
Adults $17.00 Children $12.00
Please RSVP by July 3rd to Bonnie MacAdam 802-333-4174
firstname.lastname@example.org *please specify vegetarian/children’s meals
*reminder: mail in your dues ($25) and contributions to
Lake Fairlee Association, PO Box 102, Fairlee, VT 05045
This May divers from Lycott, Inc., will conduct a detailed survey of the lake, looking for milfoil. Depending on what they find, we will develop an appropriate response. The budget below includes an assumption, that there will be milfoil present, and that we will spend $25,000 on eliminating it. We hope that the situation will be much better, and plan for it being worse.
Even so we need a plan, however rough. This budget is presented as a work-in-progress. It shows our expected expenses and known income sources. The difference is how much we need to raise in other donations to have a balanced budget. We will update it when we have additional information.
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|2011 Draft Budgets 4/13/11|
|2-3 greeters, 10hrs/day, total of 70 hours per|
|week for 17 weeks (5/21-9/18)|
|VT UC = Ave. $4,760/greeter x 3 x .084||1,199.52|
|Fed Form 940 unemployment||300.00|
|Workers Comp Ins||1,116.00|
|Total Employee costs||17,987.94|
|Contractual ( Lycott Environmental)|
|Hand pulling and/or bottom barriers||25,000.00|
|Fall survey & report to State of VT||4,000.00|
|Due Lycott for herbicide treatmt 2010||19,700.00|
|Total Contractual ( Lycott Environmental)||52,700.00|
|Accounting ( Rick Barrows)||500.00|
|Bookkeeping (Ridge )||1,000.00||1,500.00|
|Paper, printing ink, etc.||50.00|
|Post Office Box||50.00|
|Annual dinner (net)||200.00||750.00|
|TOTAL EXPENSES 2011||73,517.94|
|Donations||? ? ?|
|Dues $25 x 60||1,500.00|
|Town of Fairlee||5,000.00|
|Town of Theford||5,000.00|
|Town of West Fairlee||2,000.00|
|State of Vermont||0.00|
|INCOME NET OF DONATIONS||13,840.00|
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- All of these numbers are estimates or best guesses.
- We will not receive any income from the State of Vermont this year. See this earlier post for an explanation.
- We owed Lycott $134,700 for the herbicide treatment last year. We paid $100,000 in 2010 and $15,000 earlier this winter. $19,000 represents the balance due.
- We are obligated by the conditions of our State permit to perform another detailed scientific survey in the fall, which is budgeted at $4000.
The headline in the Burlington Free Press says:
Awards: ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center recognize green leadership in Vermont
March 27th, 2011
[ . . . ]
Nothing destroys a lake so much as an invasive plant or animal species.
When the residents surrounding Lake Fairlee in the Northeast Kingdom saw that their lake was being destroyed by the invasive plant Eurasion mifoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), they took action. For their subsequent work, they are being nominated for the “Citizen Scientist Award” for the Green Mountain Environmental Leadership Awards through the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and the Burlington Free Press.
The Lake Fairlee Association was formed not only to manage the lake, but also to educate surrounding residents about the lake and the milfoil that is overrunning it. Milfoil spreads quickly through a body of water and makes it difficult to swim, boat or fish. The association has created and maintained a milfoil-eradication system that has been continuing for 15 years and has involved the three towns surrounding Lake Fairlee: Thetford, Fairlee and West Fairlee. Through fundraising, town support and volunteers, the association started the eradication system consisting of a dive team that manually removes milfoil from the lake. In 2009, the group hired Lycott Environmental Inc. and began a five-year program that utilized an herbicide, Renovate (triclopyr).
Ridge Satterthwaite, who works with the association, nominated the organization and highlighted its grassroots effort in preserving the lake.
“In the last 15 years, we’ve been battling milfoil, and that has brought people together in the community. … Without that the lake would be dead,” Satterthwaite said. “It’s a grassroots effort, because the members are people who live on the lake or who use the lake.”
With the new herbicide, the association largely has eradicated the milfoil. Satterthwaite explained that by taking samples of plant species from the lake floor, group members were able to identify what species were present. In their findings, the association has noticed many of the plants are lake species — which is just what they want.
“By the middle of the summer, we found almost no milfoil,” Satterthwaite said.
Despite trying, the association will not be funded through the state this year, so its fundraising efforts must be kicked into high gear, according to the group. Other problems have arisen, such as lakeshore erosion and runoff from local farms, so group members have their work cut out for them, Satterthwaite said.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re going to start raising more money.”
For more information, contact the Lake Fairlee Association at P.O. Box 102, Fairlee, VT 05045, or visit http://lakefairlee.org.
[ . . . ]
link to the complete article HERE
For at least a decade the Lake Fairlee Association has relied on annual grants from the State of Vermont to help fund our milfoil control efforts. In recent years these grants have provided more than a third of our annual operating budgets. The monies were provided through the Aquatic Nuisance Species Grant-in-Aid program administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
One of the requirements of these grants is that the applicant must be a municipality. For years the Town of Thetford has generously agreed to be our ‘applicant,’ and we have submitted the paperwork in their name. They have received the grant awards and passed the proceeds to the Lake Fairlee Association. The Association has employed the divers, hired the contractors, and managed the milfoil program. The Association has prepared the application forms at the beginning of the year and the reports at the end of each year. The State has been aware of this arrangement, and the employees of the DEC understand the reason. No single town has taken responsibility for the lake, and the Associaiton was the logical entity to undertake the contol of Eurasian milfoil when it was discovered.
This year the Town of Thetford declined to apply for the grant on our behalf. We had been aware for some time that the arrangement stretched their financial accountability standards. After they signed over the checks to us they had no control of where the money was going. Their auditor found this unacceptable. Therefore our historical arrangement could no longer be maintained. Any acceptable scheme would have to vest program and check writing control in an official Town entity, like a commission. Even if this would work, it would take a while to implement. And the deadline for the grant application was fast approaching.
We approached West Fairlee, and then Fairlee, to see if either might be able to help. The West Fairlee Selectboard asked the same questions of their legal advisors, and confronted the same problem as Thetford. It turns out that they share the same auditor. Fairlee already has a commission which applies for and manages grants for Lake Morey, but they too determined that we were too late to make it work this year
So this year we did not apply for a State grant. This means either that we will have to curtail our program or we will have to find other sources of revenue. At this point it is too early to know how we will proceed. Stay tuned.
It has been over 120 days since we treated the lake with the herbicide triclopyr. The report of the scientific survey of the lake, which will detail the results, will be available later this month. It will mention that there is some new milfoil growth, occurring mostly on decaying stems of dying or dead plants. It is our hope that none of this new growth will take root. In any case we will not know for sure how successful our treatment has been until next spring.
At the Board meeting in late September we discussed how we could keep milfoil from returning and other invasives from being introduced into the lake. We intend to expand our greeter program next year, to have someone at the boat ramp many more hours per week. We will explore the possibility of having a wash station somewhere nearby, where each boater can conveniently wash down his/her boat, trailer, and motor before entering the lake. Finally we intend to work with other lakes to lobby the State to require boaters traveling between waterbodies to clean and inspect their equipment.
Also at that meeting we accepted Libby Chapin’s resignation from the Lake Fairlee Association Board. We did so with sadness, regret, and with more than a little gratitude for her tireless work on behalf of the Lake. Libby has been the driving force behind the greeter program, and has championed the cause of riparian buffers. As secretary for the past few years she has conscientiously reported the minutes of our meetings. She says that although she will be leaving the Board her commitment to the lake is undiminished. She will be missed.
The Lake Fairlee Association is working with graphic artist Matt Aquino to create a map of the lake that shows all the cottage/camp/homeowner sites around the lake. We hope to have these maps completed and available for sale at the annual dinner this year. IMPORTANT: If your camp has a special name you would like to have included along with your name, or if you want to be sure that we list you correctly, please email Suzy Kerr [LINK].