Archive for the ‘News Coverage’ Category

Lake Fairlee Dam Project on Hold

Saturday, July 25th, 2015
[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.


Interesting Lake Health Piece on VPR

Friday, June 7th, 2013

On Vermont Edition this week there was a ten minute segment about lake health in Lake Memphremagog.  The part of this lake which is in Quebec is governed by strict laws protecting its shorelines.  The interviewee is a person who patrols the lake and shoreline and reports infringing construction, destruction of the buffer, etc.  Fascinating.

Click HERE.

Press Release from VT DEC

Friday, May 31st, 2013

[The following was issued by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday, May 31]

Use Restrictions Recommended for Lake Fairlee Following Milfoil Treatment May 31, 2013

Fairlee, VT – The chemical herbicide triclopyr was selectively applied to Lake Fairlee on Friday, May 31, to control the aquatic invasive plant Eurasian watermilfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum in dense beds around the lakeshore.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, the application was delayed until Friday. Local residents were informed of the application, which was authorized by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Aquatic Nuisance Control Program, before it was scheduled.

Lake Fairlee is not officially closed. However, as a precautionary measure, under advice from the Vermont Department of Health, the public is strongly encouraged to comply with the following voluntary use restrictions for Lake Fairlee and the waterway downstream to its confluence with the Ompompanoosuc River:

  • No use of the water for any purpose today (Friday, May 31) and tomorrow (Saturday, June 1)
  • No use of the water for drinking, or for food or drink preparation until further notice.
  • No use of the water for recreation (swimming, boating, fishing) until Sunday, June 2.
  • Other domestic uses, other than for drinking, or for food or drink preparation may resumeSunday, June 2
  • No use of water for irrigation for 120 days or until further notice.

Triclopyr is a highly effective broadleaf herbicide that is used to control a variety of nuisance and invasive aquatic plant species, and is very selective to Eurasian watermilfoil. Triclopyr is most effective when applied when Eurasian watermilfoil is actively growing, thus a late spring treatment is generally most effective.

The displacement of native aquatic plants in particular has been seen in lakes in Vermont where Eurasian watermilfoil has become widespread and dense. By using this herbicide selectively Eurasian watermilfoil growth can be controlled manually in other areas of the lake and improve habitat for the native aquatic plants in the lake. Uncontrolled, Eurasian watermilfoil will eventually out-compete the native plants. Native plants will not be significantly affected by this treatment.

Please contact the Lake Fairlee Association, via Skip Brown at 802-333-4541 or Suzy Kerr at 802-333-9079 for additional information.

Up to date information may also be obtained by visiting the Lake Fairlee Association webpage

Visit Vermont’s Aquatic Nuisance Control Program webpage at:

Towns to Vote to Raise Funds for Dam Study

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Tri-Town Committee wants to raise $50,000 to fund the initial engineering studies and legal work needed to determine just how to fix our dam.  It has raised $20,000 from Aloha, Billings, Lochearn, and the Lake Fairlee Association.  It is asking the towns of Fairlee, Thetford, and West Fairlee for the rest, allocated roughly in proportion to the tax revenue each derived from lakeshore properties.  Voters in each town will be asked to approve this funding on Town Meeting day in early March.

Charlotte Albright, the Upper Valley correspondent for Vermont Public Radio, interviewed Skip Brown and Ridge Satterthwaite for a recent local news feature.  HERE it is on their blog.  There is a button near the upper left that will allow you to listen to it.

VPR article on Marsh Mermaid Weed

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Vermont Public Radio interviewed lake residents Dale Gephart and Skip Brown and did a piece on our issue this summer with  proserpinaca palustris.  You can read it on their blog HERE.  There is a button near the top left which will allow you to hear the entire piece.

Award for Lake Fairlee

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

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

[ . . . ]

link to the complete article HERE

Newspaper coverage of August 31 meeting

Monday, September 7th, 2009

The September 2nd issue of the Bradford Journal Opinion contained the following article:

Lake Fairlee moves closer to chem treatment

by Alex Nuti-de Biasi
THETFORD–Just over a month after advocates with a Lake Fairlee advocacy group said they were considering a chemical treatment to combat a Eurasian milfoil infestation, board members of the Lake Fairlee Association told a public gathering on Monday night that they are now moving forward with plans to seek a permit from the state to apply a herbicide next summer. The move represents a shift from the prior practice of removing the invasive weed by mechanical and manual means.

It is estimated that about 10% to 20% of the 457-acre lake is impacted by milfoil, which was first discovered in the lake in 1995. Since then a battery of methods, including hand pulling by divers, bottom barriers and suction harvesters, have been used in an attempt to contain the weed.

But despite those efforts, LFA board members say they are no longer able to keep the milfoil under control. Milfoil can grow to form dense mats near the surface of the water that makes swimming, boating and other recreational activities near impossible in infested areas. Additionally, it can crowd out and kill off native aquatic plants.

The limited effectiveness of non-chemical treatments have forced lakeside property owners to consider alternative methods despite some objections from those.

“Each of us are admittedly anti-chemical in that it is not our first step,” Skip Brown told attendees at the informational meeting at Ohana Camp on Aug. 31. Brown is the LFA’s milfoil program director. He said board members have had “heated discussions” about resorting to herbicidal treatment in an effort to control milfoil, but have been assured by state regulators that certain herbicides are safe for both humans and wildlife.

Ann Bove, a biologist with ANR’s water quality division, said that Vermont is very strict in the permitting process and collaborates with the Department of Health to prevent risks to sensitive populations such as children and women of a child-bearing age. At a meeting last month she said risks to humans are minimal when the chemical is applied consistent with directions and she added that triclopyr, the chemical used in Lake Morey to combat milfoil, breaks down very quickly. (more…)

Milfoil at ‘tipping point’ in Lake Fairlee

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

More news coverage of our July 23rd meeting

by Lillian Gahagan, Journal Opinion

WEST FAIRLEE—A group of about 50 people turned out for an informational meeting at Horizons Day Camp on the evening of July 23 to discuss strategy and options for controlling an invasive weed in the waters of Lake Fairlee. The 457-acre lake is spread out across the towns of Fairlee, West Fairlee and Thetford. Eurasian milfoil, a non-native weed, has reached a “moderate” level of infestation there on a scale used by the state that goes from light to moderate to heavy.

Lakeshore users and homeowners are now contemplating what to do next since the milfoil is growing faster than it can be removed using manual and mechanical means. It is estimated that milfoil affects between 10% and 20% of the lake. Milfoil spreads by seeding itself, through root propagation and by fragmentation such as when boats churn through the weeds. The harvesting operation itself spreads the weeds, but the association has continued to remove as much as possible this way. Ten to 15% of the milfoil is removed each season, according to a fact sheet distributed at the meeting, but lake temperature, sunlight and phosphate levels all contribute to the weed’s growth.

The chair of the Lake Fairlee Association, Skip Brown, moderated the meeting that brought together representatives from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Conservation, divers who have been pulling the milfoil from the lake, people who have coordinated the treatment of milfoil in neighboring Lake Morey and others from the area who have a connection to Lake Fairlee. Brown assured the group that no decision had been yet been made about what to do and he did not expect the group to arrive at an outcome at that meeting.

“Everyone here has a love for Lake Fairlee,” said Brown in his introduction of the various parties present. He said as chair of the Lake Fairlee Association, he had the “dubious honor” of running the current milfoil program for the lake. The meeting was held to provide an opportunity to hear from everybody concerned about the lake and to try to build a consensus about what to do in the future. To date, there has been a “no chemical” approach to treatment.

Brown described the status of Lake Fairlee as at a “tipping point” with the weed infestation as current efforts to control the milfoil are not enough. The milfoil grows in waters up to about 15 feet in depth, when severe, can form dense mats at the surface that “umbrella” out, making boating and swimming extremely difficult as the tangle of weeds becomes impassable.

Newspaper coverage of our milfoil dilemma

Monday, July 27th, 2009

front page july 27 2009The lead headline in today’s Valley News was, “Is it time to turn to herbicide?” Following was a well written article explaining our situation. It was prompted, we believe, by the buzz about our Informational Meeting.

You can read the whole article HERE.

(Okay, we shared the top billing with the Iraqi Kurd Elections)