Our harvester made its debut on the west side of Little Lake on July 5! We expect to see a big improvement in the lake as well as clear sailing in the three navigation paths allowed by our permit. When you see the machine in your area, give a wave and a thumbs up.
The newly acquired weed harvester purchased by theLake St. Catherine Conservation Fund
The latest news about the smart and environmentally friendly lake restoration strategy of the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund is the use of a weed harvester. Taking advantage of their state-issued permit, the LSCCF purchased this machine at the end of April. But the harvester program has only become a reality through the efforts of several Directors. The Harvester Committee was headed by Bob Short, who did much research to coordinate the project and find the right kind of equipment, with help from Directors Fran Gilman and David Fontaine. Also, local resident Paul Labas helped in finding the actual machine we purchased. Joel Pliner was in charge of administrative functions. He worked tirelessly negotiating with various state officials. Through Joel’s perseverance the state finally provided the LSCCF the harvesting permit, which allows the harvesting of aquatic nuisance plants in corridors along the length of the lake (we hope to expand the harvesting areas next year). Joel further negotiated with the Vermont Department of Environmental Protection regarding access to the lake, and was instrumental in obtaining a Vermont DEC Grant-in-aid award of $17,960. Director Fran Gilman has also played an invaluable role in helping to arrange the delivery of the unit, registering it, and checking it out mechanically. Fran, a skilled mechanic himself, will continue to handle the maintenance and upkeep of the harvester. Finally, DirectorTim Makepeace was helpful in developing off-loading sites.
Thanks to Wells Voters for Approving LSCCF Petitions
On March 7 the citizens of Wells voted “Yes” on Articles 7 and 8 by about a 2 to 1 majority to grant the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund a total of $20,000 to be used in restoring the lake for accustomed recreation purposes. For several years now, the voters of Wells have supported the efforts of the LSCCF, an indication of their confidence that the LSCCF’s new directions in lake management are making a real improvement in the conditions in the lake. The LSCCF thanks the people of Wells who have shown their confidence and support with their vote of Yes on Articles 7 and 8. Article 7 was a petition for $10,000 for the ongoing lake aeration project and other lake management. Article 8 was a one-year request for $10,000 to be used to operate a harvesting project on Little Lake.
The positive vote followed the town meeting on March 6 at which LSCCF members and other residents had a chance to share comments and questions about the condition of the lake and possible treatments available. Representing the LSCCF were Directors Bill Steinmetz and Bill Frye.
The LSCCF extended its successful aeration program by installing a new lake aeration system on the western side of Little Lake St. Catherine. The LSCCF believes the data derived from its careful monitoring of this new project along with data from the east side project will provide the basis for the next expansion and will be a model for other lakes around the state that are suffering similar weed infestations and rapid filling in of sediment.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has also granted the LSCCF a permit to conduct a small hydraulic dredging project as well. Some of the money approved by the voters will help to fund this project as well.
We appreciate the continuing support from the voters of the Town of Wells!
The LSCCF’s plans to do a dredging project in the northwest part of Little Lake got a temporary setback when Perry Thomas, manager of DEC’s Lakes and Ponds Division, made the shocking announcement at a recent meeting that the entire Little Lake area, over 100 acres of lake, had been newly designated as wetlands under the wetlands protection act.
The opposition to this decision from the LSCCF, the Lake St. Catherine Association, the Wells Select Board, and local residents came quickly and forcefully. What criteria and what data were used to make this decision? Why weren’t those involved in monitoring the lake consulted? How would this affect dredging and other restoration projects? How badly will this erode property values? What does this mean for the future of the lake?
Watch LSCCF vice president David Emmons demonstrate the depth of Little Lake St. Catherine to hard bottom, disproving the old belief that the lake was an “impounded wetland.” Click on this link or paste it into your browser. You may need to turn up your volume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZWe-vRQEMs&feature=youtu.be
Video: Little Lake is Deep
“Petition Spurs Joint Meeting”
“West Side Aeration Now Active”
“MInutes of Annual Meeting”
A recent petition drawn up by a local Wells resident called upon the state of Vermont to dredge Little Lake, claiming that the current money being spent is not working to keep the lake navigable. Another Wells resident recently distributed the email addresses of some state officials and encouraged residents to contact staff members of the Department of Environmental Conservation to say that they were dissatisfied with the conditions in the lake.