Lake Fairlee Association – The Case for Support

[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.