Harvesting to Resume on Little Lake
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.
Additionally, President Bill Steinmetz, Vice president David Emmons, Joel Pliner, and Fran Gilman have met several times with the Wells Select Board explaining the need for harvesting and how a combination of aeration and harvesting of the invasive species Eurasian watermilfoil and other nuisance plants will have a dramatic impact on the usability of the lake this summer and the overall future health of the lake. The Wells Select Board has been very supportive of our project and has provided help with the plans for access to the lake.
Unless unforeseen obstacles appear, you can expect to see the harvester on Little Lake sometime around June 16.
Needless to say, this expansion of our restoration program is a huge effort that will require increased support from those who benefit from improved lake conditions. We look to both residents and members to help through continued financial support and with offers of hands-on help in keeping the harvesting operation working.
The use of a harvester will augment the significant improvements in the lake depth and water quality already resulting from the LSCCF’s installation of aerators. The aeration process infuses oxygen into the water column and in the bottom sediments to allow the beneficial bacteria to do their job of decomposition. Those highly organic sediments are the result of vegetation dying and sinking to the bottom each year. While the organic makeup of the sediments in Little Lake are in the 80% range, the good news is that now with the use of a harvester the Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund will be able to dramatically reduce the amount of Eurasian watermilfoil that dies and goes to the bottom of the lake at the end of each season. Vice President Emmons has said that less congestion in the lake this summer and increased depth are guaranteed.
We believe that the success that the Conservation Fund is having in Little Lake very well may change the way lakes are managed in Vermont. Folks who truly care about the environment are applauding the enormous efforts the LSCCF volunteers have been putting forth for more than six years now.