Award for Lake Fairlee

The headline in the Burlington Free Press says:
Awards: ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center recognize green leadership in Vermont
March 27th, 2011

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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

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link to the complete article HERE