This year the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Lake Fairlee Association a grant to support our efforts to preserve and enhance our lake’s health. By planting new shrubs and perennials we restored buffer zones on the shores of three lake residences, which will act as a filter to keep nutrients and pollutants out of the lake. As you will have read in these posts, surface water flowing into the lake carries nitrogen and phosphorous from decayed plant matter and fertilizers, and toxic substances from pesticides and human trash. The single best thing we can do to to keep the lake clear is to deter this runoff, best accomplished by allowing a natural ‘buffer’ to develop along the shore. Simply by not mowing, raking, or cultivating a distance back from the shore the leaves and fallen plant matter that collect will slow the runoff and help remove unwanted contaminants.
Since our last post buffers were created on two more properties, completing the work funded by the grant. Redwing Meadow, more recently known as the Tifft farm, has a long low shoreline. In recent years grass has been allowed to grow tall down near the lake, excepting a mowed path or two.
The Snow’s property on Lakeshore Drive has a bank about three feet high above the water. Here besides filtering runoff the roots of the woody plants will slow the erosion of the shoreline.
Now the plants are in the ground, have been mulched, and the surrounding area seeded and covered with straw. The single best thing that every lake owner can do to ensure an effective natural filter is to stop mowing, raking, and cultivating near the shoreline. This lets leaves and detritus to collect on the ground and new seedlings to take root. The ungroomed natural growth that results works best.
Who Made This Possible?
Money from the grant paid the cost of the plants and materials. The labor was donated by lake residents, conservation commission members, and generous neighbors. The property owners have agreed to allow their shorelines to be used as models to show others what a lakeshore “makeover” can look like.
Some of those who helped:
- E.C. Brown’s Nursery in Thetford provided all of the plants . . . then advised us about native choices, selected hardy individuals, and gave a generous discount.
- Peggy Willey
- Corey Paye
- Julie Paye
- Ann Stephens
- Doug Tifft
- Bonnie McAdam,
- Renee Snow
- Libby Chapin
- John Chapin
- Skip Brown
Thank you one and all (and any we have overlooked)