What follows was circulated and posted around Lake Fairlee in the weeks before July 23rd under the banner, Chemicals in Lake Fairlee? This headline was intended more to attract peoples’ attention than to frame the discussion. We have reached a tipping point, where our efforts to control Eurasian Milfoil are not keeping up with its growth in our lake. We need to come together as a lake community and take ownership of this problem, and begin to work to address it. The Lake Fairlee Association has called this meeting to begin the process.
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All Interested Parties Please Attend
An Informational Meeting and Discussion
Concerning the Future of Lake Fairlee
For over a decade Lake Fairlee has been dealing with an invasive weed called Eurasian milfoil. The Lake Fairlee Association has developed an extensive program using scuba divers every summer to clear patches of milfoil using hand picking, suction harvesting, and bottom barriers. This has been funded by donations from residents, from the three adjoining towns, and by grants from the State of Vermont. Even though our dive program has been called a model program by the state, our resources are limited, and the milfoil continues to thrive in Lake Fairlee.
Meanwhile our neighbor Lake Morey has been combating milfoil for even longer. Three summers ago they received permission to use an herbicide to kill milfoil in the lake. They appear to have had good results, and the milfoil in their lake is greatly reduced. Some Lake Fairlee people have suggested that we ought to do the same. They have serious concerns that that our dive program is not the most efficient use of our resources. Others are disinclined to allow the use of any chemicals in our lake. The LFA Board has determined to be open-minded and cautiously consider the issue. We have begun to gather information, and invite all interested parties to participate in the discussion.
Assertions – which the LFA Board wants to examine and understand
• Even if all the milfoil is killed or removed from the lake, it will likely return.
• Our dive program, at the level at which we can afford to maintain it, is not gaining ground on the milfoil problem.
• Vermont, which regulates all of our milfoil activities, is among the most restrictive of all states about approving the use of chemicals.
• The chemical triclopyr (used in Lake Morey) acts on a growth hormone in a certain class of plants. It does not “poison” people or animals.
• Triclopyr has been around for 30 years, and its toxicity has been exhaustively studied.
• Triclopyr, and its chief metabolite TCP1, have known and measured levels at which it poses a danger to humans and animals, which is many times higher than the levels at which it would be introduced into the lake.
Please join us at 7:00 pm Thursday, July 23rd, at Horizons Day Camp, on Route 244 at Middlebrook Road. Representatives from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will be on hand to answer questions. Bring your issues and concerns, and see if we can develop a consensus on how to proceed.