On Thursday morning the crew arrived and the boat arrived and the truck laden with pallets of triclopyr arrived. Will Stevenson, from Lycott Environmental took his skiff out to warn a fishing boat of the impending herbicide treatment. The pontoon boat was launched, and motored down to Aloha hive’s shore, where the herbicide was being unloaded from the truck. That was the last thing that went well for a while.
It would take about seven trips with the pontoon boat to distribute the required amount of chemical. The first load was onboard, but the motor would not start. They tried everything, from drying the spark plug to a fresh fuel filter to a new battery. Ultimately it was determined that there was water in the gas tanks. New tanks with fresh gasoline were brought, and the motor was still nonresponsive. The motor was taken to the local marine store, and diagnosed with a broken flywheel (later determined to be a broken flywheel key, no less debilitating). No replacement boat nor motor could be found. Finally – about four hours later – a new motor was purchased, to be installed overnight.
BUT the permit allowing us to perform the treatment was for that day, Thursday May 30th. Further, it specified that the lake could not be closed on Saturday or Sunday. Delaying the application until Friday would mean that there could be no swimming, fishing, or boating in the lake through Saturday. We explored the possibility of postponing the treatment until the next week, but could not.
Fortunately Matthew Probasco, the Aquatic Nuisance Control and Pesticide General Permit Coordinator from the Vermont DEC, was at the lake to oversee the treatment. After some discussion he agreed to allow us to proceed with the application on Friday, provided that we were able to provide actual notice of the change to the lake users and residents. So early Friday morning volunteers from the Lake Fairlee Association posted signs on the three Town Halls, made changes on the 46 signs posted around the lake, and visited every one of the hundred or so houses and camps on the lake. Where we found people at home we explained what was happening. Otherwise we posted a notice where it would be seen by anyone entering with the same information. In every case those we met were supportive of the treatment and wished us good luck.
Will picked up the pontoon boat with new motor installed and was on the lake by about 8am. Shortly the crew arrived and the first batch of herbicide was loaded aboard. The boat departed and disappeared around the corner headed to the north end of the lake. An hour later it had not returned. Now there was a problem with the chemical being so moist that it was clumping up and not flowing smoothly down into the eductor – which is the gadget that creates a suspension of the herbicide particles in water so that it can be sprayed out on the lake. After several experiments Will figured out how to rig sire screens in the intale of the eductor which would catch and break up the offending clumps. The treatment was finished by mid afternoon.
We are grateful to all who participated and helped overcome the various difficulties. Many thanks to all.