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The 2020 LSCA Membership Drive Is Underway!

Hello good folks of the Lake St. Catherine community.

It's that time of year again... As the Lake St. Catherine Association heads into its 67th year, we are asking for your support for the 2020 season.

What does the LSCA do? Well, start here by checking out our 2019 Year In Review.

Your membership dues and contributions help fund many of the services provided by the LSCA:

  • Maintain and purchase navigation and shore line protection buoys throughout the lake.

  • Test the water for E coli, and water clarity.

  • Managing the free boat-safety courses that are state mandated for all persons born after January 1, 1974.

  • Greeter Program: Inspecting boats wishing to enter the lake for aquatic invasive species (AIS) to keep them out of the lake.

  • Controlling milfoi.

  • Working with the state to solve the problems of silting and impacts of phosphorus and other sources of pollution. Let us know if you'd like your property evaluated for the Lake Wise program in 2020.

  • Maintaining "welcome" signs and gardens.

  • Liaising with other lakes in order to exchange information concerning problems.

  • Sponsor the annual fun-filled July 4th Boat Parade.

  • Disseminate information to our membership and the community through newsletters, website, and other local publications.

  • Organizing funding through membership fees, donations and grants from the State of Vermont and Poultney and Wells.

  • We represent you to state and local governments to protect your rights and the lake in general.

  • We protect the value of your property by maintain the beauty, access, and safety of the lake.

There are two easy ways to renew or become a member of the LSCA.

Soon, you will be receiving a mailing from us that contains the 2020 Membership Form. You can also download a copy by clicking here: 2020 LSCA Membership Form PDF. Just fill out the form and mail it in to our Treasurer Elaine with a check for your dues. We'll also send you an email if we have your address on file.

Or, you can renew or become a member on our website. If you were a member in 2019, click here to renew, or click here to become a new member - and you can pay your dues online with your credit card. If you were a member last year (whether you paid by check or online by credit card), the website has an account ready for you. If you don't remember your password, or never set one up, click on the "Forgot Username/Password?" link, and the site will send you an email with the information.

We'd also like to encourage you to check with your employer to see if they have an Employer Matching Gift Program for charitable donations. Many generous businesses will match donations made by their employees through these programs. So, take a look - you may be able to double your contribution!

If you are a business in the Lake St. Catherine community, we have a Business Sponsor Membership we'd like to tell you about. The Business Sponsor Membership includes:

  1. A listing on our ‘Sponsors’ page on www.lakestcatherine.org with your logo, a link to your web or Facebook page, including a brief description of your business and services.

  2. The posting of your events and special occasions to our Events & LSC Community Website Calendar.

  3. A posting on our Blog and Facebook page about your business as a ‘Sponsor Spotlight’ feature.

  4. A posting for your business in our Spring and Fall newsletters. Newsletters will be made available to the community in both printed and digital versions. 

You can learn more about the Business Sponsorship by clicking on the 2020 LSCA Membership Form PDF.

Your membership and the dues and contributions we receive allows us to accomplish our work. Maintaining the lake costs approximately $125,000 annually. While we do receive annual grants from Poultney, Wells, and the State, membership dues and contributions make up the majority of our funding.

Upon receiving your membership contribution, our treasurer Elaine will mail you a hand-written thank you note, a receipt, a LSCA window card and a stick-on card holder for your cell phone.

We are happy to report that in 2019, we had 342 paid members, which includes 9 Business Sponsors with an average contribution of $154. Thank you to all of our members! Your membership dues and additional contributions over and above our base $100 membership level are crucial to funding our important lake programs. In 2019, we increased our membership in both dollars and in individual contributors by around 12% each as compared to 2018. We hope to build on these numbers again in 2020. As always, we ask you to help us spread the word by discussing the LSCA with your neighbors. We will continue to work hard for Lake St. Catherine to earn your support. 

We appreciate your support!

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

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LSCA Responds To Little Lake Misinformation, Proposes A Plan

Hello LSC.

Over the past year, you may have read numerous articles and opinion pieces in the Rutland Herald, read an online posting, or attended a meeting concerning conditions in the Little Lake. Unfortunately, many contained misleading information while failing to convey important facts. We feel it is necessary to respond. We also want to provide details of a multi-year plan to help improve conditions in Little Lake.

First, a little history.

What are the Lake St. Catherine Association (LSCA) and the Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF)?

We are the Lake St. Catherine Association (LSCA), a Vermont not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, organized on August 31, 1953. For 66 years, we’ve been stewards of the lake by fulfilling our mission of the preservation, protection and maintenance of Lake St. Catherine. In the late 1970’s, we began lake-wide management efforts by directing and funding important programs that include (but are not limited to): milfoil control, invasive species control (boat launch Greeter program), water testing, pollution and phosphorous mitigation and water safety. We also fund one-time projects such as the clearing of the Lily Pond channel to restore connectivity from Lily Pond to the North Bay.

In 2009, the Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF) was formed by Little Lake property owners with a focus on Little Lake’s unique issues. They applied for and received a permit for an aeration experiment by installing a submersed diffused air aeration system which pumps oxygen into the lake. This system was presented as a way to help dissolve lake bottom muck (increasing water depth) and decrease Eurasian Watermilfoil (EMW, milfoil). The experiment began on July 30th, 2012. Earlier that year, on June 13th, 2012, the LSCA performed its last permitted milfoil control activities in the Little Lake so the experiment could be conducted.

Through the years since our last treatment in the Little Lake, the LSCA has been asked, “What do you do for the Liitte Lake?”. Our answer has been everything you have just read above. Everything we do is for the wholeof Lake St. Catherine. We were asked to no longer perform lake management efforts in Little Lake by the LSCCF so they could conduct their aeration experiment. Because we have not been involved in the management of Little Lake since 2012, this has given some the impression that the LSCA is only concerned with the Big Lake. This is certainly not the case. All of our efforts are intended for the benefit of the entire lake.

With all this in mind, let’s address what’s been happening in Little Lake since 2012.

Introduction

What we present to you below will be based on studies, facts and years of data collection. We will not be pontificating our opinions or beliefs, only presenting conclusions based on the facts. Therefore, this information is being presented in a “just the facts” manner, and we ask that it be read with that tone in mind. We’re doing this to combat confusion and misinformation - and to make sure LSC property owners and local government officials are informed. Our goal is to make sure everyone who cares about the Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine as a whole will have all available information so we can work together on real solutions.

The LSCCF ran their aeration experiment in Little Lake from 2012 - 2018. In 2017, they also began a mechanical harvesting program that would cut and remove weeds using a mechanical harvesting machine (Note: The LSCA discontinued mechanical harvesting in 2004 because it was ineffective and caused milfoil to spread). During this time, the LSCCF has presented their own data to claim that the depth of Little Lake has increased and they maintained that the aeration was controlling milfoil. The LSCCF did not apply to renew their aeration permit for 2019, so the system was not in operation in 2019. The LSCCF also experimented with the use of weevils to control milfoil, which was unsuccessful.

Let’s look at a paper prepared by the Vermont DEC and the results of 17 years of Aquatic Vegetation Management Program reports which dispute the LSCCF’s claims.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issues aeration report

In January 2019, the Vermont DEC released a report entitled, “AERATION AS A LAKE MANAGEMENT TOOL AND ITS USE IN VERMONT”. The information specifically about Little Lake begins on page 15. While we encourage you to read the full report, we’ll quote some of the important information here.

First, let’s start with the DEC’s description of aeration in the introduction of the paper (all bold emphasis is ours):

“In recent years, aeration has been marketed to lake managers as a tool that could potentially manage aquatic plants and accumulated organic material on a lake bottom, also referred to as “muck.” The proposed mechanism for muck control through aeration is to increase oxygen at the lakebed to encourage decomposition of organic sediments. Although there is a market for installing aeration systems for these uses and some experimental installations are in place in Vermont, the scientific literature does not support or recommend the use of aeration as a tool for managing muck or aquatic plants(Osgood 2015, Wagner 2015).”

From the DEC report, specifically about Little Lake (all bold emphasis is ours):

“To address their concerns about increasing organic sediment accumulation, the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF) proposed to install a diffused air circulation (DAC) system throughout the lake. In 2011, a DAC system for the east side of the lake was authorized under a Lake Encroachment permit and later expanded and reauthorized in 2013. In 2015, the project was authorized to expand to the west side of the lake under another Lake Encroachment permit. The units in Little Lake were installed for the purpose of reducing organic sediment accumulation on the lakebed and approved under Lake Encroachment permitting as an environmental research project, which is a consideration of the public trust. This installation was viewed as a research project because there is a lack of evidence in the scientific literature that supports the use of aeration as a tool to reduce organic sediment accumulation.​

Depth data was collected by LSCCF and the DEC; depth data varied greatly between the two groups.LSCCF provided depth data for 2012-2017 measured adjacent to diffusers as well as at four nearby water quality sites and two control sites. The LSCCF measured depth by pressing a pole attached to a square board down into the flocculant sediment (all data are calibrated to dam benchmark water level).”

“In 2017, the VT DEC recommended that LSCCF add sampling sites along transects between three diffusers and extending toward mid-lake to monitor the extent of the diffuser’s potential impact on lake depths. Depth data collected by LSCCF between June and October show increases in depth at each transect site varying from 0.5 to 0.7 feet, but overall depths were shallower (from 1.0 to 2.4 feet) moving away from the diffusers and did not increase from summer to fall​. These depth measurements were taken by the LSCCF using the pole and board method. During a sampling visit in summer 2017, DEC recommended LSCCF adopt the use of a sludge sampler (“Sludge Judge”) they were testing to compare depth measurements between this measurement tool and the board and pole method. The sludge sampler may more accurately show the depth of settled solids. However, LSCCF provided no 2017 data using this method​.

“From the depth surveys conducted pre and post aeration installation by the VT DEC and others, there is no evidence to support that the use of the DAC system has altered the depth of Little Lake St. Catherine​. Depths throughout Little Lake St. Catherine have remained relatively constant throughout the time depth sampling has occurred.”

“The LSCCF data shows significant depth increases in close proximity to the aeration diffusers. ​However, these depth changes were not observed from the bathymetric surveys conducted by the VT DEC.The fluid dynamics of organic sediments are poorly understood and small localized changes in depth are difficult to interpret. It is possible that the diffusers transport organic sediment away from their area of influence.Measuring depth using the sludge sampler will increase consistency and accuracy of data collection. The VT DEC recommends that the LSCCF use a standardized monitoring protocol for water quality data and for depth measuring so that the data may be better used for data assessment. Additionally, continuing to measure depths along a transect away from the diffuser will better characterize the effects of aeration.”

Also in the paper, the DEC included a results of a study involving Lake Apopka, a shallow (mean depth of about 5.2 feet), eutrophic lake in Florida (similar to Little Lake) that also ran an aeration experiment (all bold emphasis is ours):

“...96 aerators were installed in a 250-acre area of the lake for the purpose of decreasing organic sediment accumulation. Two applications of 1,000 pounds of microbes and 400 gallons of enzymes were added for bioaugmentation to speed up the decomposition process. It was anticipated that the installation of an aeration system would lead to increased water clarity, increased dissolved oxygen concentration, reduction of cyanobacteria, reduction of the decomposed organic muck layer on the lake bed, and a reduction of nutrient concentrations in the water column and the sediments. In an independent review of the experimental installation, University of Florida researchers saw no detectable differences in water chemistry between treatment areas and control samples.

Then concluding:

“In 2017, the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council, the governing body overseeing the restoration of Lake Apopka and other geographically related lakes, made an official recommendation in their 2017 Annual Report to the Florida Legislature to no longer support aeration projects as part of the overall restoration efforts. The Council determined that aeration to control sediment accumulation did not work to expectations, and that the aerators were likely transporting flocculant sediments around the lakebed, rather than oxidizing the sediments.​

Again, we encourage you to fully read the report.

17 years of lake-wide aquatic vegetation surveys

Each season, the LSCA contracts with SOLitude Lake Management to perform spring and fall aquatic vegetation surveys. Beginning in 2001, 199 total data points were mapped out using GPS on Lily Pond, Big Lake and Little Lake. These points are returned to each season to survey for aquatic plants and the reports are generated. All the reports dating back to 2001 can be viewed on our website in the Downloadssection.

Let’s look at the data from the Little Lake from the past 10 years. In the following list of data points and charts, milfoil frequency of occurrence refers to the distribution of milfoil at the Little Lake data points, milfoil cover percent refers to the abundance of milfoil in Little Lake, total plant cover percent refers to the abundance of all weeds in Little Lake, and the plant biomass index is defined as:

0: No biomass; plants generally absent

1: Low biomass; plants growing only as a low layer on the sediment

2: Moderate biomass; plants protruding well into the water column but generally not reaching the water surface

3: High biomass; plants filling enough of the water column and/or covering enough of the water surface to be considered a possible recreational nuisance or habitat impairment

4: Extremely high biomass; water column filled and/or surface completely covered, obvious nuisance conditions and habitat impairment severe

The data for the Little Lake​:

Little Lake Data

The charts for the Little Lake​:

Little Lake Chart 1Little Lake Chart 2

As you can see in the data, and plotted in the charts, all four data points are trending up (see the lightly shaded trendlines plotting through each color on the chart). This data shows that while the LSCCF was conducting their aeration experiment and mechanically harvesting and removing weeds in Little Lake, milfoil frequency of occurrence, milfoil cover percent, total plant cover percent and the plant biomass index are all trending up.

One note: you may have noticed the dip in 2016 and think that this may indicate that the aeration had some impact on weeds that year. But, as you’ll see in the data and chart below, there was a similar dip in the Big Lake that year. So, whatever conditions caused the weed decline, it was lake-wide.

The data for the Big Lake​:

The chart for the Big Lake​:

Big Lake Chart

Summary and notes

To summarize, the conclusions reached by the DEC’s aeration paper and the historical plant data for Little Lake do not support the LSCCF’s claims of muck or weed reduction in Little Lake. Unfortunately, the aeration experiment did not work.

However, in October 2019, the LSCCF applied for a permit to expand on their existing aeration installation, which they expect will cost $400,000 over a 3 year plan.

One final note before moving on. Based on the data above, and the images shown below, you can see that the weed conditions of the Little Lake in 2019 without the aeration system running are comparable to the conditions in 2018 when it had been running. We mention this to dispute the commentary in this LSCCF video posted on July 24, 2019 (Video Link). As heard during the video commentary, the video was taken on July 4th, 2019.

Commentary from the video:

"July 4th, 2019. After 6 seasons of aeration, no aeration on in 2019, and this is what the lake looks like. I haven't seen this many plants at the surface of LL since 2010, 2011, before aeration."

Clearly the intent was to create a narrative that the Little Lake was in its current state (in the video taken on July 4th, 2019) due to lack of aeration in the 2019 season. At most, the aerators could have only been on for approximately 3 months that season, as ice-out was mid-April.

It is important to note that the video does not show the condition of Little Lake to be any different from the fall of 2018.

The following photos were taken in June of 2018, near aerators that have been running the longest on Little Lake, on the east side.

The thick beds of healthy milfoil surround the aeration area and are growing to the surface. It can also be observed that the water displacement from the aerators are arcing the milfoil away from the aerator, allowing the plants to grow longer than just stopping at the surface.

Little Lake Milfoil 1

Little Lake Milfoil 2

From the video:

Little Lake Milfoil 3

Proven results

Each season, the LSCA performs a milfoil control program to keep milfoil in the lake at manageable levels using, most recently, a combination of spot ProcellaCOR EC treatments, diver assisted suction harvesting (DASH) and hand-pulling. Using this proven, balanced approach, the LSCA has been able to keep milfoil under control in treated areas since 2004.

This season we were approved to use a new product called ProcellaCOR EC. As compared to the previous product used over the past few years (Renovate), ProcellaCOR EC allows us to use 200x - 400x less product, has significantly less water use restrictions, and it is highly targeted to milfoil - promising longer lasting results. For example, the recommended ProcellaCOR EC water use restrictions for the 2019 season were only the day of treatment for recreational use (vs. 2 days for Renovate) and 7 days for using lake water for irrigation (vs.120 days for Renovate).

Based on our ProcellaCOR EC and DASH results in 2019, and in consultation with the DEC and our lake management contractor SOLitude Lake Management, we have a real opportunity to knock back milfoil to levels not seen in the lake in many years.

Below is a chart showing the milfoil distribution in our treatment areas from the fall 2018 survey to the fall 2019 survey:

2018 v 2019 fall survey

This is the result after one season of adding ProcellaCOR EC (treating only a small number of sites) to our milfoil control control program, again, in combination with our substantial DASH efforts.

The plan

Based on our 2019 results using a balanced combination of ProcellaCOR EC and DASH, we see an opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of milfoil in LSC to a level which would allow us to primarily focus on DASH and hand-pulling for our milfoil control efforts (our ProcellaCOR EC treatment involved only 5% of the Big Lake with excellent results). The LSCA is currently creating a multi-year plan to achieve this goal. But, for this to be possible, we need to address the biggest source of milfoil in LSC, the Little Lake. If left unchecked, the milfoil in Little Lake will continue to spread up the Channel and into the Big Lake, which will make it very difficult for the LSCA to achieve its objectives of both milfoil control and spread prevention. Treating selected portions of the Little Lake with ProcellaCOR EC as needed to gain control over the Little Lake’s milfoil over a several year period will be part of this multi-year plan.

What could this plan achieve?

Our plan sets a goal to reduce the amount of milfoil lake-wide to the point that we can primarily focus our control methods on DASH and hand-pulling. A volunteer milfoil spotting team would be formed to search for any milfoil plants at the beginning of each season, so the DASH crew can be used to remove them over the course of the summer. Property owners around the lake would work together to remove any floating milfoil they see on the lake or on their shoreline. Funds that are budgeted yearly for milfoil control can be reduced and redirected to other vitally important programs like aquatic invasive species prevention (Greeter Programs at boat launches), and pollution and phosphorus prevention through stormwater runoff mitigation projects (Lake Wise).

Then, specifically in Little Lake, the LSCA would fully support the DEC’s recommendations (from their aeration report):

“...continuing to work with local partners to implement watershed practices that address sedimentation may provide the clearest and most predictable path forward for addressing sedimentation concerns in Little Lake. Shoreline development, runoff from roads, and increased development pressure elsewhere in the watershed all contribute to sedimentation in Little Lake.

Aquatic invasive species and dense aquatic plant growth is an important issue affecting Little Lake and methods other than aeration may be more effective at addressing this issue.”

We also fully support the current efforts of the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD) working on the LSC Stormwater Master Plan dealing with runoff issues, and their LEAP program which offers shoreline buffer plantings.

In principle, could you support a plan like this?

Our promise to you is that we will work hard to implement this plan and achieve these goals, while engaging LSC property owners (including those in the Little Lake) to participate.

What’s next?

The LSCA would like to hear from you.

In the spring, we will hold a meeting to present our detailed plan to all lake property owners and the lake community. When this meeting is scheduled, we’ll let you know all the details so you can attend.

But, spring is a few months away, and we’d like to hear what you think before the meeting. You can: email us at [email protected], post your comments online, contact your LSCA trusteeneighbor... let us know your thoughts.

If you disagree with this plan, or any of the information or data listed here, let’s discuss it. We can fully stand behind the science and the facts presented. Let’s talk about them.

If you like this plan, let us know and help us to spread the word and show your support. If you have questions, let us know - we will answer them for you.

The LSCA has been combating milfoil in Lake St. Catherine for 40+ years. We now have an opportunity to beat milfoil down to extremely low levels allowing us to primarily focus on DASH and hand-pulling for our control program and allowing for a larger portion of our budget to be reallocated to other important lake programs. We need to come together, work together, and make it happen.

Rainbow over Little Lake

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LSCA Has Yearly Review Meeting With DEC

On Tuesday, January 6th, the Lake St. Catherine Association was happy to have the opportunity to update Misha Cetner from the Vermont DEC on our successful lake management efforts in 2019.

Presenting with our contracting partner, Marc Bellaud from SOLitude Lake Management, we first discussed our milfoil control program.

Using our balanced approach of spot herbicide treatments (using the new herbicide ProcellaCOR) and our hard-working DASH team (removing 1,293 buckets of milfoil), milfoil was successfully controlled in treatment areas. From our 2019 Aquatic Vegetation Management Report:

“Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) distribution decreased significantly from 62% to 15% over last year’s frequency of occurrence and percent EWM cover decreased to 2%, at survey points within the Main Basin.

EWM control was excellent throughout treatment areas, with only other areas in the basin having any observed growth, most of which were at lower densities. This year’s spot-treatments and diver assisted suction harvesting (DASH) efforts were exceptionally effective but can only provide control to those areas while some EWM growth remains elsewhere in the basin.”

After reviewing the results of this first season of use, we are encouraged by ProcellaCOR’s effectiveness, and we hope this will allow us to continue to emphasize and expand our DASH milfoil control efforts while reducing our herbicide use.

This comparison of the fall milfoil surveys from 2018 to 2019 demonstrates how effective our milfoil control program was in 2019:

We also had the chance to discuss our other lake programs which include initiatives to decrease stormwater runoff bringing phosphorus and pollution into the lake and our invasive species prevention efforts (the Greeter Program at the boat launch).

It is extremely important to limit phosphorus from entering the lake. From the USGS.gov website:

“Phosphorus is a common constituent of agricultural fertilizers, manure, and organic wastes in sewage and industrial effluent. It is an essential element for plant life, but when there is too much of it in water, it can speed up eutrophication (a reduction in dissolved oxygen in water bodies caused by an increase of mineral and organic nutrients) of rivers and lakes. Soil erosion is a major contributor of phosphorus to streams. Bank erosion occurring during floods can transport a lot of phosphorous from the river banks and adjacent land into a stream, lake, or other water body.”

Limiting phosphorus reduces nutrients for weeds and reduces the chances of having a cyanobacteria bloom.

We are happy to be supporting the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District’s (PMNRCD) Lake St. Catherine Stormwater Masterplan as they begin implementing stormwater mitigation projects around the lake.

Each year, we also promote their Lake Education and Action Program (LEAP) program. The LEAP program works with lakeshore property owners to provide native buffer plantings, and apply other stormwater mitigation techniques like infiltration steps.

We also discussed our partnership with the PMNRCD in promoting the Lake Wise Program. From the Lake Wise website:

"The goal of Lake Wise is to establish a new normal, a new culture of lakeshore landscaping that is proven to help protect the lake. A property that earns the Lake Wise Award will represent a 'model' shoreland property. The Lake Wise Award certifies a property is well managed, using shoreland Best Management Practices, and is maintained to care for the lake."

This lead to the first Lake Wise Award being presented to a LSC property owner, The Binghams (you can read about that here).

If you are interested in having your property assessed for the Lake Wise program, please email us at [email protected].

Our Greeter program is very important to the health of LSC. Greeters do not just check boats and trailers for milfoil - they are checking for many invasive species that are just a lake or two away from us. These invasives include zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, asian clams, water chestnuts and starry stonewort. For example, spiny waterflea were just found in Lake Champlain and zebra mussels were recently discovered in Lake Dunmore. Our Greeters are hard working young adults who have been trained to identify these invasive species to stop them from entering LSC. They also educate boaters about the importance of looking for these invasives on their boat or trailer so they are not spread to LSC or another lake.

This season, we were happy to be selected for a grant from the Vermont DEC’s Watershed Grant Program for $4,942. This allowed us to expand our daily Greeter hours, add coverage for fishing tournaments and to further expand hours around holidays. This resulted in inspecting 1,779 boats, a 21% increase from 2018.

We were also able to report that we’ve received 2 grants from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to expand both our Greeter Program and our Lake Wise efforts in 2020.

As you can see, we had lots of excellent news to share with the DEC!

We’d like to thank Misha and Marc for their time.

While we had a great 2019, we will continue to work to build on these successes in our ongoing pursuit of our mission of the preservation, protection and maintenance of Lake St. Catherine.

We hope to earn your support in 2020. Thank you.

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LSCA Awarded Two LCBP Grants!

We have some exciting news to share!

Last week, we were informed that the Lake St. Catherine Association had been awarded a Pollution Prevention grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program in the amount of $19,920. Two days later, we got the news that we'd also been awarded an Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention grant in the amount of $14,141.

With the support of the Town of Poultney and Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District, LSCA Vice President Martha Pofit submitted applications for these grants in late October (note: we are waiting to hear about two other grants we have applied for). Thanks to everyone's hard work, a total of $34,061 in grants from the LCBP will be coming to Lake St. Catherine!

Here's Martha to tell you all about these grants for 2020:

LAKE ST. CATHERINE ASSOCIATION HONORED TO RECEIVE $19,920 FROM THE LAKE CHAMPLAIN BASIN PROGRAM….
THEN JUST TWO DAYS LATER, LEARNED IT ALSO WAS APPROVED TO RECEIVE $14,141 TO EXPAND OUR PROGRAM TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES. THE LSCA TRUSTEES ARE BEYOND THRILLED BY THESE EVENTS TO BENEFIT ITS MEMBERSHIP!

The Lake St. Catherine Association is proud to announce it has been chosen by the Lake Champlain Basin Program in 2020 to reduce phosphorus and silt entering the Lake from stormwater runoff.

In addition to the many activities already underway, a new program will appoint Lake ambassadors, named Neighborhood Captains, around the Lake to organize a gathering of neighbors to review the lessons learned from other homeowners in modifying their lakefront, paid in part or full from the grant. The number and intensity of spring storms has challenged homeowner properties and the grant is an opportunity to have an assessment with recommendations for enhancements that may range from plantings to drainage. The assessments would be performed by our partner, the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District in the spring and early summer, with residents eligible by the end of the summer for the prestigious Lake Wise Award. (Note: in 2019, long-time property owners the Binghams were the first LSC property to earn the Lake Wise Award. You can read their story here.)

Improving the Lake St. Catherine watershed is a multi-part program that involves pollution control, reduction in the spread of aquatic invasive species, fixing compromised culverts and road surfaces and re-diverting runoff away from the Lake. It will take the best efforts of the Towns, tactical basin partners, Lake Assns., businesses, Lake residents and the general public who have come to enjoy the amazing recreational opportunities of our beautiful Lake. The Lake St. Catherine Association has been working hard to secure funding for our long term strategy and has been successful in attracting grants, first from the Vermont Watershed Grant program in 2019 to expand our boat launch education and outreach program and now in 2020 from the distinguished Lake Champlain Basin Program local implementation grants.

In addition to the fabulous news on December 17th that we received the Pollution Prevention Grant, imagine our joy to learn on December 19th that we also were approved to receive $14,141 to implement the Lake St. Catherine Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention’s higher level of performance, a two-pronged attack will be initiated in 2020: the Boat Launch Greeter Program expanding coverage hours during times of high boat traffic along with coverage of fishing tourneys, during the 4th of July week, expanding the overall program by 25% and creating a zero-tolerance for zebra mussels campaign. In addition to the Greeter program, there will be an examination and analysis of the Channel adjacent to the Boat Launch for harvesting by the Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) program to minimize AIS uptake upon boat retrieval, with a special protocol on zebra mussels given their emerging threat to Vermont Lakes in 2020.


All of grant-related activities have been made through voluntary efforts of the Lake St. Catherine Association Trustees. If we all work together, our beloved Lake St. Catherine will be protected and preserved both now and for the future. Many of you have already volunteered to help and if you also would like to be a Neighborhood Captain, and/or have a Lake Wise assessment of your property in 2020, please contact Lake St. Catherine Association Trustee, Martha Pofit, at: [email protected].

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2019 Aquatic Vegetation Management Report

Each season, the LSCA implements a milfoil control program to keep milfoil in check using a combination of spot herbicide treatments and DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting). Then, in the late Fall, a comprehensive plant survey is performed to determine how effective our efforts have been. 

The report can be read directly here: 2019 - Aquatic Vegetation Management Report. This is the 16th consecutive year a plant survey has been performed on Lake St. Catherine. You can see all the previous reports, dating back to 2004 in our Links & Downloads section.

From the report: "EWM (Eurasian watermilfoil) control was excellent throughout treatment areas... This year’s spot-treatments and DASH efforts were exceptionally effective..."

Please take a look.

If you have any questions, please get in touch at [email protected].

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Good day to you LSC fans.
 
On this Thanksgiving eve, we'd like to take a moment to thank our membership and the lake community for your support this season.
 
...and Happy Thanksgiving!
 
We hope you get to spend it with your family and friends.

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LSCA 2019 Year In Review

Hello LSC fans. We hope you are enjoying the Fall.

We'd like to take a little time and recap the 2019 season - and look ahead to 2020. We'll try to retell the story of 2019 chronologically and keep it brief and to the point. So, grab your favorite beverage and give it a read.

Here we go...

- Membership

Our yearly membership drive kicked off in early February with mailings, emails and postings on our website and Facebook. We are happy to report that we had 342 paid members, which includes 9 Business Sponsors. This generated $52,550 in membership dues which gives us an average contribution of $154. Thank you to all of our members! Your membership dues and additional contributions over and above our base $100 membership level are crucial to funding our important lake programs. We are happy to report that we've increased our membership in both dollars and in individual contributors by around 12% each as compared to last year. We hope to build on these numbers again next year. As always, we ask you to help us spread the word by discussing the LSCA with your neighbors. We will continue to work hard for Lake St. Catherine to earn your support. 

- Milfoil Control

Back in December of 2018, we applied for two new permits as part of our milfoil control program. We applied for a 5 year permit to treat milfoil with the new herbicide ProcellaCOR - and a 10 year permit to be able to perform DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting). While both permits were approved, we had to start almost a month later than we would have liked. The herbicide permit was not approved by the state until 5/10/19. There was then a 30 day comment period, then a 30 day notice period, which set the treatment date at July 10th. We did all we could to try to maintain the schedule that we've had in the past, but that was unable to happen this year because of the approval delay. We hope to get back to our usual schedule of an early June treatment date next year. 

We are very happy with the results of the new herbicide ProcellaCOR. As compared to the previous herbicide (Renovate), ProcellaCOR allows us to use 200x - 400x less herbicide, has significantly less water use restrictions, and it’s is highly targeted to milfoil - promising longer lasting results. For example, the recommended water use restrictions this season were only the day of treatment for recreational use (vs. 2 days) and 7 days for using lake water for irrigation (vs. 120 days). We hope the effectiveness of ProcellaCOR will allow us to continue to emphasize DASH for milfoil control.

Our hard working DASH team also had a great season combating milfoil. They worked on 10+ locations around the lake and removed 1,293 buckets of milfoil by suction harvesting.

This balanced approach has kept the milfoil in treated areas in check for 15 years.

This season, we received many reports of milfoil in areas of the lake, asking if it will be addressed by our DASH team. We inspected all the areas being reported, and we discovered that many folks were confusing Illinois Pondweed with milfoil. Pondweed, which is considered native, cannot be removed by our DASH team. However, if you'd like to clear your swimming or dock area of pondweed - you are allowed to do so by raking or hand pulling. Please see the graphic below showing our 2019 treatment areas and the difference between milfoil and pondweed.

- Greeter Program

This season, we were happy to be selected for a grant from the Vermont DEC’s Watershed Grant Program for $4,942. This allowed us to expand our daily Greeter hours, add coverage for fishing tournaments and to further expand hours around holidays. This resulted in inspecting 1,779 boats, a 21% increase from 2018. 

The Program, co-administered by DEC and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, distributes grant dollars for noteworthy local and regional water-related projects within Vermont.

All are encouraged to consider switching your current license plate to a Vermont Conservation license plate. Applications to do so can be found at here at the Conservation License Plate website. Currently, there are 3 plate options to choose from: Deer, Loon, Trout:

Our Greeter program is very important to the health of LSC. Greeters do not just check boats and trailers for milfoil - they are checking for many invasive species that are just a lake or two away from us. These invasives include zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, asian clams, water chestnuts and starry stonewort. For example, spiny waterflea were just found in Lake Champlain and zebra mussels were recently discovered in Lake Dunmore. Our Greeters are hard working young adults who have been trained to identify these invasive species to stop them from entering LSC. They also educate boaters about the importance of looking for these invasives on their boat or trailer so they are not spread to LSC or another lake. 

This is an extremely important program that helps to protect LSC!

- Lake Safety - Free Boating Classes

The LSCA provides two free boating safety classes each year - one in Wells and one in Poultney. Anyone born after January 1st, 1974 must successfully complete a boating safety class to be able to legally operate a motorized watercraft. This year, 25 people passed the course and received their boating license. If you'd like to earn your boating license next year, please keep an eye out for our announcement of the classes (usually taking place in June).

- 7th Annual Boat Parade

On Saturday, July 7th, we had 15 boats participate in the 7th Annual LSCA Boat Parade - and the creativity was on full display! We hope you enjoyed watching it - and we were thankful for all the participants and our sponsors. 

Our Best Overall winner was the "Loon Pontoon":

You can read more and see photos & video in this 7th Annual Boat Parade recap.

- Membership & Donation Appeal

After preparing our 2019 budget, we projected that we'd have a shortfall of income (membership dues, grants, donations) to fully fund our programs this season. While we’ve been steadily increasing in both the number of members - and the total amount collected from membership dues, support from state and local governments has been decreasing.

Although we would be able to cover these expenses with funds from our savings, we decided to reach out to the lake community in an appeal to reach residents that had not paid their 2019 dues, and to ask for additional contributions from our membership. So, we sent out mailings, emails and postings on our website and Facebook pages explaining the shortfall. You can read that appeal here

Well, you responded. Since the appeal began in mid July, we've added 40 members and received additional contributions totalling over $25,000!

In 2020, we will be working hard on initiatives to expand our membership base, generate additional contributions and win grant awards (more on that below).

- LSCA Annual Meeting & Dinner

We had a great turnout at the Annual Meeting at the LSC Country Club on July  27th. Trustees gave reports from their committees and answered questions from attendees. We then all enjoyed an excellent dinner with our lake neighbors. 

You can read a full recap of the meeting, including our presentation in this Annual Meeting recap.

We hope you'll join us next year!

- The First Lake Wise Award on LSC

In early September, we and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD) were excited to announce that the first property on Lake St. Catherine has been selected for a Lake Wise award.

"The goal of Lake Wise is to establish a new normal, a new culture of lakeshore landscaping that is proven to help protect the lake. A property that earns the Lake Wise Award will represent a 'model' shoreland property. The Lake Wise Award certifies a property is well managed, using shoreland Best Management Practices, and is maintained to care for the lake."

On Friday, September 8th, representatives from the LSCA and PMNRCD gathered at Sylvia and Harry Bingham's camp on Peninsula Drive to present them with the Lake Wise award - the first awarded on Lake St. Catherine.

You can read more about the Binghams and the Lake Wise program in this posting: First Lake Wise Award On Lake St. Catherine.

19 properties were assessed in 2019 - and the LSCA and the PMNRCD will be working with these owners to help them earn the Lake Wise award for their property.

We'd like to help other Lake St. Catherine property owners earn the Lake Wise award. If you would like to have your property assessed, please email us at [email protected].

- Newsletters

You can view our two 2019 newsletters here:

Spring 2019
Fall 2019

- 2020

Plans are already underway to do it all again in 2020...

Also, we are currently in the process of applying for grants to: help fund our suction harvesting program, help fund and expand our greeter program, help fund LSCA organizational expenditures and create some education programs.

We hope to earn your support in 2020 - so keep an eye out for our Membership Drive to kick off in February. 

To keep up-to-date on all LSC news, please bookmark our Blog, and like us on Facebook. We post all of the latest news on these sites. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

Finally, a HUGE thank you to our renewing members, our new members, our business sponsors, our volunteers and all who donated to help make this season a great success!

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First Lake Wise Award On Lake St. Catherine

The Lake St. Catherine Association (LSCA) and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD) are excited to announce that the first property on Lake St. Catherine has been selected for a Lake Wise award.

Lake Wise is a program developed by Vermont’s Lakes and Ponds Program to recognize outstanding efforts by homeowners who live along a lakeshore to protect the water quality and habitat along the shoreline and within the near-shore area of the lake. Four categories are assessed: The driveway and parking area, the structure (which includes roof, drainage, and septic), the recreation area (the lawn/footprint of non-natural, high-use yard areas), and the shoreline buffer area.

The goal of the Lake Wise program, from the Lake Wise website:

"The goal of Lake Wise is to establish a new normal, a new culture of lakeshore landscaping that is proven to help protect the lake. A property that earns the Lake Wise Award will represent a 'model' shoreland property. The Lake Wise Award certifies a property is well managed, using shoreland Best Management Practices, and is maintained to care for the lake."

On Friday, September 8th, representatives from the LSCA and PMNRCD gathered at Sylvia and Harry Bingham's camp on Peninsula Drive to present them with the Lake Wise award - the first awarded on Lake St. Catherine.

During the presentation of the Lake Wise award to the Bingham's, Hilary Solomon from the PMNRCD said: "I am very pleased to present this LakeWise award to Sylvia and Harry Bingham. They have a lovely property with many natural features including a diversity of trees and shrubs; a very natural shoreline toward Oxbow Bay; nice gardens which also infiltrate stormwater, and a patio with areas between the stones to infiltrate water, as well. This summer, they added shrubs to both shorelines through the LEAP program, as they continue to build and maintain their plantings.

This property has been in the family since the 1960’s. The Binghams love to garden and Harry built the patio and the lovely stone walls. Their son David brought irises from his expansive garden back home and also helped with the gardening. From the short time that I have met them, it sounds as though they love their home on the lake and the time they get to spend here and they contribute in many ways to the health of the lake and the community of property owners around the lake. They have served in various capacities on the Lake Association and actively participate in community-building events.

Sylvia and Harry, I could not be more pleased to honor you with this plaque today. Your exemplary stewardship and your love for the lake is evident. Congratulations. And thank you for helping us as we take steps as a community to help maintain the water quality and wildlife on Lake St Catherine. The Association and the Conservation District are working with homeowners to assist them with wider, more natural buffers; less overall lawn area; no-mow zones; narrower paths to the lake; leaving duff and mulch in place; maintaining septic tanks and leach fields, and many other activities that should cumulatively help to maintain the high-quality characteristics that we all love about this lake. We hope to award many more plaques in the near future, and this is our first step toward that goal."

Congratulations to the Bingham's on earning the first Lake Wise award on Lake St. Catherine! We appreciate their continued efforts to maintain a lake friendly property which we hope will be a model for all property owners on Lake St. Catherine.

The LSCA and the PMNRCD would like to help other Lake St. Catherine property owners earn the Lake Wise award. If you would like to have your property assessed, please email us at [email protected]

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Vermont DEC Visits Lake St. Catherine For Lake Wise Assessments

Vermont DEC Officials visit Lake St. Catherine to learn of the great efforts homeowners have made to control runoff on their properties.

August 26th was an exciting day at the Lake, as we hosted Amy Picotte from Vermont DEC and most of the staff of the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District, who met with the first group of property owners along Lake St. Catherine to participate in the Lake Wise program.

The spring of 2019 was a particularly difficult one, with several storms that overwhelmed culverts and roads surrounding the Lake. It certainly brought attention to the role we all play in protecting the Lake from sediment and an overabundance of phosphorus that fuels milfoil and, potentially, toxic algae growth.

To recognize the good works of local Lake residents, the DEC has a program, called Lake Wise, that assesses lakeshore properties and recognizes optimum management for water quality through an award. If your shoreline qualifies, based on the assessment criteria, a LakeWise plaque is awarded to the property owner. If additional actions are needed, the Lake Wise program serves as a free assessment and consultation.

The Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District has been providing the assessments for Lake St. Catherine homeowners. They then work with partners and write grants, receiving funds to provide shoreline plantings, raingarden installation, and other implementation projects aimed at improving water quality in the lake. These programs, the Lake Education and Action Program (LEAP) for example, can be utilized after a Lake Wise consultation to help implement recommendations from the assessment.

It is so encouraging that there is a great deal of interest in becoming a Lake Wise property. If you would like to join in with local residents to have your property assessed, just contact us at: [email protected]. The LSCA is eager to have recognition for those of you who have added buffer zones, no mow zones, fertilizer-free lawns, infiltration steps, water-absorbent gardens and other creative ways to reduce runoff into our precious Lake. We hope you will consider becoming a LakeWise site and encourage your neighbors to do likewise. We look forward to hearing from you!

Photo participants, from left to right: Sadie Brown - Nursery Manager. Martha Hicks Pofit - Vice President of LSCA, Amy Picotte - Environmental Scientist - Vermont DEC, Hilary Solomon - Manager of PMNRCD, Ashley Leemans - PMNRCD staff

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Meeting Of The Board Of Trustees - 08/24/2019

On Saturday, August 24th, the Lake St. Catherine Association held their fourth and final meeting of the 2019 season.

The Trustees gave their reports on many topics - Click here to see the full meeting agenda. Meeting minutes compiled by Kemi Mcshane.

August 24th 2019 Meeting of the Lake St. Catherine Board of Trustees
Lake St. Catherine Country Club, 8:30 AM

Meeting called to order by President Jim Canders at 8:30 AM

Present: Ken Abt, Elaine Bagley, Kemi McShane Bostock, Jim Canders, Frank Callahan, Jeffrey Crandall, Jerremy Jones, Martha Pofit, Mary Jo Teetor, Bob Williams, Nancy Liberatore.

Absent- John Belnavis, Rob Goldman, Ed Laird, Phil Pope, Rob Nesbit. 

I. Recording Secretary’s Report- Kemi McShane Bostock Minutes of the July 27, 2019 trustees meeting sent by email. Jeff made Motion made to accept the Minutes as written, second by Elaine. All voted in favor.

II. Treasure’s Report – Elaine Bagley. Updated constantly to date: 81,594.24 in checking and 70, 443.00 in Savings. 2019 appeal generated 20,00.00, 35 new members. Greeters program grant 27,000.00 plus 6,000.00(broken into 2 sections) Greeters and AIS. Discussion on how to keep donations coming in the future and how do we expand the membership. A motion was made to accept the treasure’s report as submitted, second all voted in FAVOR.

III. Report of Annual Meeting 2019- LSCCC likes the LSCA utilizing the facility. The annual dinner meeting was a success. Bob Williams was thanked personally by Jim Canders for the raffle donation.

IV. Milfoil Management- Jeff Crandall. Presentation made by Beck from DASH program to report the outcome of this season’s work. They had a delayed start due to the permit process, reported removed 1,293 buckets of milfoil from LSC. Expressed concern for storm water runoff that increases additional nutrients into the lake and noticed floaters in the early Spring so was anticipating a difficult season but were able to work the areas designated for DASH. The milfoil had reached the surface. Saw lots of matted areas and pondweed. The herbicide treatment was very effective throughout the lake. Referred to the survey done by Solotude to designate the locations for the treatment areas. Two surveys are conducted in the Fall and Spring. The Fall survey evaluates the programs effectiveness in managing the milfoil. The Spring survey helps identify the areas the need treatment. The goal is to manage the milfoil with localized treatment with the herbicide and for DASH to supplement the milfoil management. Discussion followed on how to proceed in our milfoil treatment. Three points were outlined: 1. LSCA needs to follow formal case study to show scientifically based work. 2. LSCA needs to reach out to other lakes that use Solotude and compare results. 3. The Little Lake is a major concern and if applied these interventions how would these improve the Little Lake’s condition. DASH end date was August 15, 2019. The plant becomes brittle and not alive. It starts to mat and DASH was vacuuming the bottom of the Lake. All were concerned that this season was going to be bad but had amazing end results. DASH is hoping to start work next June not in July as its important to treat the milfoil early before the growing cycle begins. 

V. Water Quality- Mary Jo Teetor- 2019 storms made water quality cloudy. Did 5-meter reading. Send samples to State. 9 samples from the Little Lake. No E. coli testing this summer. Lots of new rules from the State. Creating districts. Dealing with storm water projects, culverts, roads. Phosphorus a major concern. Overall water quality good, heavy rains creating problems as increases run off. Discussion to take samples from specific spots and take Spring phosphorus samples to have a base line. Lake Report Cards need to be more consistent. Discussed the meeting with the Commissioner of the DEC, Emily Boedecker, 8/15/19. Major concern is the phosphorous in the Lake. Encouraged the LSCA to contact the legislative representatives and include them in the discussion regarding the health of the whole Lake. 

VI. Publicity- Jerremy Jones- the presentation of the Fall newsletter. East Poultney Day was a successful event. Judy Leach has a morning talk show and would like to interview the LSCA on the radio.

VII. Lake Safety- Frank Callahan- Removal of cones and buoys. Game Warden visually present to monitor lake safety. 

VIII. Nominating Committee- Bob Williams- Contacted people interested in becoming a trustee. Need to reach out to them so can attend a meeting. Kemi McShane Bostock voted in for a two-year position. Nancy Liberatore appointed a 3 year position.

IX. Membership- Elaine Bagley- reported on the results of the fund raising letter. Needs a chair person. 

X. Government relations- Martha Pofit- LSCA & PMNRCD Partnership. Prepare for funding opportunities with the Lake Champlain Basin Authority. Need to develop LSC priority projects and Strategic plan. Late Fall meeting with the State. 

XI. Old Business- Boat Parade- needs committee, Wells Day- still a worthwhile event, East Poultney Day- needs a chairperson.

XII. Lake Wise- Amy

XIII. Election: President – Jim Canders Vice president- Martha Pofit, Treasurer- Elaine Bagley, Secretary- Kemi McShane Bostock, Pass one ballot for all nominations motion made, second and all voted in Favor. Meeting adjourned by Jim Canders at 11:05 motion made and second- all voted in FAVOR.

XIV. Next meeting May 23,2020 @ 8:30 am LSCCC

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