Chemicals in Lake Fairlee — A Hard Decision

[ the following is the text of an announcement of our upcoming meeting ]

Meeting – 7:00 pm, Monday August 31st – at Ohana Camp

(formerly Lake Fairlee Camp on Quinibeck Road)

The Lake Fairlee Association has decided that our milfoil control program is no longer adequate to its task, and that the future health of Lake Fairlee requires a new approach. After review of the alternatives available, and after discussion with the Vermont DEC, the Lake Fairlee Association board has decided to begin the process leading to the use of an herbicide on the milfoil next summer.

Why now?

  • The milfoil has spread so much, in spite of our strenuous mechanical control program, that we are no longer able to keep it under control.
  • Since our informational meeting last month public opinion around the lake has been strongly in favor of using chemicals.
  • Some of our most generous donors, upon whom our program largely depends, have decreased or completely withheld support unless and until we change course.
  • Others who have never supported our milfoil efforts have promised to contribute in the future if we add the use of herbicides to our overall program.
  • Many who argue against the use of chemicals have never contributed to our dive program.

The safety of the process, and of the particular chemical used, continues to be of paramount importance.  The information we have received from the State scientists and others indicate that, if used properly, this herbicide is safe and effective.  We invite a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the risks, known and unknown, and an analysis weighing these risks with the costs of not proceeding and the benefits of doing so.

We believe that the engagement and support of the community is essential.  Towards that end we are holding another meeting to help residents and lake users fully understand our decision to employ this measure at this time.  We plan to have additional opportunities for discussion as the process unfolds.  Representatives from the company we select to do the treatment will be invited, as will scientists from the State DEC.

Please attend this meeting and join us in supporting Lake Fairlee.