How is Lake Fairlee Doing?

At our Annual Meeting and Barbecue Dinner this year our speaker will be Amy Picolette.  (July 9th – Save the Date!)  Amy is an environmental scientist who works for the Vermont Water Quality Division.  Among other duties she is in charge of the Lay Monitoring Program LINK, that checks and tracks the water quality in the lakes of the State.

For over 30 years volunteers from Lake Fairlee have participated in this program, collecting data on the clarity of the water in the lake and submitting water samples which are then tested for phosphates.  Lake Fairlee’s information is summarized HERE, and the raw data can be accessed HERE.

This year they have added something called a Vermont Lake Score Card.  It is a bit cumbersome to access, because you have to download a “KML” file that runs with Google Earth to view it. LINK Here is what ours looks like:

CLICK ABOVE FOR A SLIGHTLY LARGER VIEW

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What does this tell us?

1)  Our lake is rated as having reduced conditions for shoreline and lake habitat;

2)  Our lake is rated as having fair conditions for water quality due to a highly significantly increasing trend in the lay monitoring phosphorus data in addition to moderately decreasing visibility for the lake.

Looking Forward

Until this year we had been (mostly) satisfied by the State’s earlier assessment, that Lake Fairlee had:

Water clarity – high
Algal population density – moderate
Nutrient enrichment – moderate

We are troubled by this new information.  We look forward to Amy Picolette’s presentation, and an opportunity to hear specific recommendations.

Of course, everyone should be vigilant and agressive about limiting runoff into the lake and encouraging proper lakeshore planting.  We hope that a revised evaluation of our ‘Invasive Species’ score will be forthcoming once the effect of last summer’s herbicide application is factored in.  And we welcome the opportunity to continue the dialog and involve more members in the discussion.

There is additional information about lake health elsewhere in this blog.  Click on the Lake Environment category to the right.