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2019 LSCA Boating Safety Classes (FREE!)

The Lake St. Catherine Association is pleased to provide two FREE boating safety courses this season.

The first will be held on June 12th and 13th from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Poultney Volunteer Fire Department on Beaman Street.

The second will be held on July 8th and 9th from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Wells Village School on Route 30.

Anyone born after January 1st, 1974 must successfully complete an approved boating safety education course to legally operate any motorized vessel - including personal watercraft.

Frank Callahan, Trustee in charge of Boating Safety, will be conducting the courses.

Space is limited to 24 attendees, so please call 802-645-9136 or email Frank at frank.callahan@lakestcatherine.org to register. Last season, both classes filled up to capacity very quickly, so please call to schedule as soon as you can.

For additional information about boating in Vermont, check out the online Handbook of Vermont Boating laws and Responsibilities.

Maintaining the lake costs approximately $125,000 annually. Grants, membership dues and contributions make up the majority of our funding. If you'd like to help, please consider becoming a member or making a donation. The LSCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and any contribution that you make is tax deductible.

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2019 Independence Day Events On Lake St. Catherine

Hello LSC fans... 

We have some exciting news - we'd like to let you know about the 7th Annual Boat Parade and when the LSC 4th of July fireworks will light up the sky.

7th Annual Lake St. Catherine Boat Parade:

This year, the Boat Parade will take place on Saturday, July 6th at 1 PM. Prizes are awarded for:

• Most Original
• Most Patriotic
• Funniest
• Best Overall

Register your boat today! Email us at info@lakestcatherine.org.

Please note: we are looking for a new Boat Parade Coordinator. Lila Burgner started the Boat Parade 7 years ago, and she has decided to 'retire'. If you'd be interested in coordinating the Boat Parade this year, please contact us!

Here's our Best Overall winner from last year:

Fireworks:

Lake resident Rick Roberts has informed the LSCA that his fireworks display will occur on Saturday, July 6th. This year, the fireworks will launch from the east side of the lake, near the mouth of Hall's Bay from a barge. Rick asks that boats give the barge a 150 yard perimeter.

Rick personally organizes and funds this annual fireworks display for us all to enjoy - please consider making a contribution to Rick. Thanks Rick!

A photo from last year's display by Ben Nicolson Photography:

What a photo!

So, mark your calendars for Saturday, July 6th for the Boat Parade and the Fireworks display!

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Erosion Workshops, A Septic Conference & Greeter Training

We'd like to let you know about some upcoming workshops, conferences and trainings - all on the topic of keeping our lakes healthy.

Public Access Greeter Trainings

LSCA trustees and our crew of Greeters will be attending the May 18th workshop at the Castketon Community Center.

Each season, our Boat Launch Greeters attend this training session so they can provide invasive species education and watercraft inspections to boaters as they enter and leave Lake St. Catherine. Each season, the LSCA funds the Boat Launch Greeter program from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. 

In early 2019, the Watershed Grant program recognized the Lake St. Catherine Association’s “Greeter” program at the State’s boat launch by awarding us with a $5,000 grant. The LSCA will use the this funding to expand the aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention program to keep invasive species out of Lake St. Catherine.

This workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Additional dates & info:

Septic Solutions Conference

On May 9th, from 8:30 AM - 3 PM at the UVM Davis Center in Burlington, VT - the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District will hold a Septic Solutions Conference. 

Topics will include: Septic 101, septic regulations for shorelines, septic financing and innovative and alternative systems.

It is extremely important that septic systems on the shoreline are working properly. If your system is in need of replacement, this looks to be an excellent conference to attend.

This workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Additional info:

Summer Erosion Control Workshops

These training workshops are for professionals working in soils, erosion control, water quality, public works, engineering, roads, planning and consulting.

Sediment is the world’s #1 pollutant. During storms, disturbed soils erode and wash into streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, threatening drinking water, fish and wildlife, and recreational uses.

This workshop teaches techniques for preventing and controlling erosion and supports a favorable quality of life in Vermont.

The first workshop will be on June 11, 2019 at Lake Eden in Eden, VT. The second will be on June 12, 2019 in Richmond, VT.

These workshops requires a $30 registration. 

Additional info:

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LSCA Pleased To Receive A 2019 Watershed Grant To Support Greeter Program

- by Martha Pofit

Since its creation in 1998, the Vermont DEC’s Watershed Grant Program’s primary focus has been to support watershed-related education and recreation and directly protect and restore Vermont’s watersheds.

In 2019, the Watershed Grant program recognized the Lake St. Catherine Association’s “Greeter” program at the State’s boat launch. Entitled “Taking the Lake St. Catherine Greeter Program to the Next Level of Performance through Evidence-Based Decision-Making”, The Association will use the $5,000 full funding of the outreach grant to expand the aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention program to keep invasive species out of Lake St. Catherine.

Specifically, the grant will expand the AIS Prevention Program (Greeter Program / Boat Launch Monitoring), through a 25% increase in hours, a special focused pilot study on July 4th weekend, to initiate outreach through a dialogue with Lake St. Catherine State Park on common goals and protocols, and a structured review of best practices and outcomes, for consideration of the feasibility of a pressurized decontamination station.

The Public Access Greeters perform a variety of inspections and decontaminations: visual and tactile inspection, removal of organic material, boater remove the bilge plug until drained, and distribute educational materials. In 2018, over 800 watercraft were inspected.

The Greeter Program is not only aimed at preventing the introduction of invasive species to Lake St. Catherine, but also at education and community building. It is an opportunity to interact with boaters, gain trust, and provide information on how to safely enjoy the Lake.

Half of the proceeds derived from the sale of Vermont Conservation License Plates go towards funding the Vermont Watershed Grants Program.

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:

If you know of a conservation-minded student who would enjoy working at the boat launch this summer, kindly contact LSCA Board Member John Belnavis at: john.beinavis@lakestcatherine.org.

The Board of Directors of the Lake St. Catherine Association sincerely thanks the Vermont DEC for supporting its efforts to protect Lake St. Catherine, now and in the future.

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Predict Ice Out Day 2019

Hello LSC fans.

With the recent warm weather, I'm sure we've all been thinking about Spring.

So, we decided to have some fun while we wait. Based on an idea posted on our Facebook page (thanks Derric), we've decided to have an Ice Out prediction contest.

When do you think the ice will go out this season?

Make your prediction here: LSC Ice Out Prediction Form

The winner will be crowned "LSC 2019 Ice Out Champion" and will have bragging rights all year.

Make your guess - and good luck!

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Update On Long Term Funding For Clean Water Projects

The following is a summary on funding of clean water projects in Vermont compiled by Lake St. Catherine Trustee Martha Pofit. Martha is also on the Board Of Directors of the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP), focusing on legislative issues.

Background: Federal EPA Requirements

Vermont is required to fund $2.3 billion over the next 20 years to comply with federal pollution reduction orders for Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog and other water bodies in the state. Since the 2015 passage of Act 64, Vermont’s Clean Water Act, the state has used short-term sources — such as appropriations from the capital bill — for the majority of its share of the funding. Going forward, Vermont is obligated to identify a stable, long-term clean water funding source.

Governor’s Budget Plan for Long Term Funding

In his budget address, Governor Scott laid out a proposal to use a portion of the estate tax for clean water funding, (while also reducing the number of individuals who would be subject to paying the estate tax). His plan also included using some general fund money generated from the property transfer tax, and other sources. Next year, as an example, the budget calls for a total of $48 million for clean water efforts, including management of the state’s 7,000 miles of dirt roads and on-farm water quality projects. That total includes more than $19 million in federal funds.

Preliminary Legislative Reaction

Legislative leaders have expressed concern about diverting revenue from the general fund and creating a funding gap for other state priorities, as well as the volatility/variability of the estate tax. As an alternative, the Vermont Senate Natural Resources Committee was expected to consider a clean water funding bill that would contain a combination of a per parcel fee and an impervious surface fee.

Advocates Weigh In

The Vermont Water Caucus, (including the Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Conservation Voters, Audubon Vermont, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Lake Champlain Committee, The Nature Conservancy in Vermont, Connecticut River Conservancy, Watersheds United Vermont, and Conservation Law Foundation.) developed a series of principles to apply to any long-term funding sources.

  • Funding sources must be stable and sufficient to meet Vermont’s needs.
  • Funding sources must be stable, predictable and reliable from year to year, to support ongoing, consistent clean water protection and restoration efforts.
  • Funding must be flexible in terms of its use, to meet the full and evolving scope of clean water needs across the state.
  • Funding must restore our degraded waters and also protect our river and lakes from future degradation.
  • Funding sources must minimize negative economic impacts on lower-income Vermonters, who already bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences of contaminated water.

Federal EPA’s Reaction to the Governors Funding Plan

The federal Environmental Protection Agency gave its preliminary approval February 11 to the plan from the Scott administration to fund clean water projects with existing revenues and create regional districts to implement projects, calling it a “sensible framework” that meets the state’s obligations to provide a long-term source for clean water funding.

Specific Legislative Proposals

Senate bill 96

Senator Bray, D-Addison, introduced S. 96 on February 12.

This bill proposes to establish a Clean Water Board for the receipt and dissemination of Clean Water Funds, sets priorities and eligible entities to receive funds and establishes a Clean Water Assessment on all parcels in the State. Monies collected under the Clean Water Assessment would be deposited in the Clean Water Fund to fund water quality improvement projects in the State. The amount of the Clean Water Assessment shall be approximately $40.00 per parcel, collected by July 1, 2021.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Bray for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on March 2 for the Senate Calendar of March 12.

House bill 171

Rep. Till, D-Jericho, introduced H. 171 that would raise the Clean Water funds through a combination of taxes and fees on parking lots, asphalt sales, hotel rooms, and milk handlers.

Specifically, this bill proposes to establish an impervious surface fee on all parcels in the State. The bill would repeal the sunset of the Clean Water Surcharge on the Property Transfer Tax. The bill also would establish a Water Quality Occupancy Surcharge on the rent of each occupancy in the State. The bill would impose on milk handlers a fee per pound of fluid milk purchased from a milk producer for the purpose of bottling, manufacturing, processing, distribution, or sale of dairy products in the State. The bill would require a manufacturer of asphalt to pay an assessment per ton of asphalt sold in the State each year. The revenue from the impervious surface fee, the Water Quality Occupancy Surcharge, and the asphalt assessment would be deposited in the Clean Water Fund. The revenue from the milk handling fee would be deposited in the General Fund.

On February 27, Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife be relieved of the bill, moved to Committee on Ways and Means.

House bill 507

Rep. Dolan, D-Waitsfield, introduced a bill to fund Clean Water Projects through collection of a tax on bottled water at 10 cents per bottle and sugary drinks at 15 cents per bottle. The legislation would also levy a 6 percent tax on barbering or cosmetology services and a .05 percent increase in the income tax. 

Specifically, this bill proposes to raise revenue for water quality projects and programs. The bill would establish a 10-cent per bottle tax on bottled water sold in the State. The bill would establish a 15-cent per bottle tax on each bottle of sugar-sweetened beverage sold in the State. The bill would establish a sales tax of six percent on the value of barbering or cosmetology services. The bill would also raise individual income rates by .05 percent. Revenue raised under the bill would be deposited in the Clean Water Fund for the purposes of that Fund, except that 67 percent of the revenue raised from the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would be deposited in the State Health Care Resources Fund for use according to the purposes of the Fund.

On February 28, referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

Federal Funding Announced by Sen. Leahy on Feb 22

More than $20 million in federal funding was appropriated to Lake Champlain in fiscal year 2019- the highest level of annual federal funding to assist clean up efforts. Sen. Patrick Leahy announced the funding at Burlington’s ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, which he helped secure in his role as vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The figure has more than doubled since 2017.

The specific funding lines are $11 million for the EPA Lake Champlain Program, $7.25 million for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, $1 million for the Lake Champlain Sea Grant, $500,000 for the U.S. FWS Sea Lamprey Control and $1 million for the International Joint Commission Flood Study.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee moves S. 96 to the Senate Floor

On March 1, Senate Natural Resources reported a favorable recommendation to place S.96 on the Senate Calendar for March 12. S.96 would mandate every landowner pay a clean water tax, or “assessment,” of approximately $40 and establish regional planning commissions.

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The 2019 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 66th year, we are asking for your support for the 2019 season.

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.

  • Inspecting boats wishing to enter the lake for Eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels and water chestnuts.

  • Controlling milfoil (and other invasive species) and maintaining native weeds at tolerable levels.

  • Working with the state to solve the problems of silting and impacts of phosphorus and other sources of pollution.

  • 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 2019 Membership Form. You can also download a copy by clicking here: 2019 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 2018, 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 2019 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 LSCA euro sticker:

We appreciate your support!

If you have any questions, please contact us at info@lakestcatherine.org.

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Water Quality A Hot Topic In Vermont And At LSC

- by Martha Pofit

The Lake St. Catherine Association, its Board of Directors and members are highly committed to preserving and protecting Lake St. Catherine water quality and its watershed as well as preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Four recent significant developments are worthy of reporting to the LSCA membership and friends:

1. The Board of Directors approved the issuance of a landmark manuscript this fall that was developed during the spring and early summer entitled: “Lake St. Catherine Association Evidence-Based Decision-Making: 1978-2018”.

The manuscript captures the actions taken by LSCA over the past 40 years, gives a current snapshot of issues affecting the Lake and discusses future considerations. It was written by Tufts graduate Philip Hicks of Granville and overseen by LSCA Board members.

2. The LSCA manuscript was highlighted in the Vermont Federation of Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) Fall newsletter as a potential template for other lakes and sent to all FOVLAP members. The article and link to the manuscript is identified below:

Manuscript Outlines Issues at Lake St. Catherine

A manuscript portraying the past, present and future issues at Lake St. Catherine has been approved by the Board of Lake St. Catherine Association. It is entitled: “Lake St. Catherine Association Evidence-Based Decision-Making: 1978-2018.” The 34-page document and appendices could serve as a template for other lakes seeking a common understanding of lake issues. The report looks at measuring water quality, protecting the watershed, mitigating invasive species, cultivating a healthy ecology for fish and wildlife, and promoting recreational safety. You can review it at: https://goo.gl/Mt84S2

3. In December, LSCA Board Member, Martha Pofit was appointed Chair of the Legislative Committee of FOVLAP. In this role, Martha wrote to the Vermont Governor’s office in early January inquiring about federal and state funding for Vermont’s Lakes and received the following response:

“Thank you for your inquiry to the office of Governor Phil Scott, about the status of federal funding for clean water projects and watershed improvement. Fortunately, Vermont continued to receive federal funds through 2018, and we were reassured that federal funding would continue in the future. See our 2018 Federal Funding Report for details of watershed project funding.  You may also be interested in the Clean Water Initiative Program’s 2017 Investment Report.The 2018 Investment Report is in preparation for delivery to the State House early in the legislative session and will be posted on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website at that time.

In addition to clean water funding, we receive federal funding to support aquatic invasive species spread prevention and aquatic nuisance control. These funds are used to augment income from motorboat registration fees in support of the Lakes Program’s Grant-In-Aid Program.”

Lake St. Catherine will shortly be applying to the Grant-In-Aid Program for its next five year permit and has been aggressive this fall in applying for four grants from the Lake Champlain Basin Program for: Pollution Prevention & Habitat Conservation; Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention; Education and Outreach; and Organizational Support for Membership Recruitment, Retention and Education”

4. Governor Scott presented his Inaugural Address for 2019 to both houses of the Vermont Legislature on January 10 and made two important comments pertaining to Vermont Lakes. Specifically:

“We’re committed to restoring and protecting our lakes and rivers, which will cost Vermonters nearly $1 billion over the next 20 years.”, and

“And my budget will propose a long-term funding source for our water quality initiatives, using existing revenues and a new delivery model to put this money to work on the ground.”

The next step in understanding the “new delivery model” will be the language in the Governor’s Budget Message to the Legislature scheduled for January 24. The full text of the Inaugural Address can be found at read by clicking here. You can read more in this VT Digger article, "Statehouse preview: Eyes on the environment".

Lake St. Catherine Association will continue to be active on all issues affecting the Lake, will represent your interests at the state level, and report important development to the LSCA members.

For further information on any of the above items, feel free at any time to contact LSCA President Jim Canders at jim.canders@lakestcatherine.org.

 

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2018 Aquatic Vegetation Management Program Report

We'd like to let you know that the 2018 Aquatic Vegetation Management Program Report has been posted to the  Links & Downloads section of our website. 

In our Links & Downloads section, you'll find helpful links to lake related websites, LSCA documents, helpful and fun downloads (including Lake St. Catherine - A Historical Scrapbook) and 15 years of Aquatic Vegetation Management Program reports.

The 2018 report includes an extensive, lake-wide plant survey, and a recap of the 2018 milfoil herbicide and DASH treatments.  

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Listing Of Certified Natural Shoreline Erosion Control Professionals

Back in October, we let you know about a certification program being offered by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

From the DEC's Natural Shoreland Erosion Control Certification website:

"This Certification Course covers shoreland Best Management Practices, including techniques for erosion control, stormwater management, bioengineering and wildlife habitat protection. Lakeshore owners often rely on professional contractors, landscapers, engineers or other site workers to advice and help them manage their property. The NSECC course teaches contractors both the science for using BMPs and the science of how they work to protect the lake while remaining attractive and appealing to homeowners. All workers certified through this six hour training course will be listed on the Agency of Natural Resources web site and the list will be shared with lakeshore property owners. Those certified through this course will also be given preference for grants and contracts awarded through the new Vermont Clean Water Initiative, and are eligible for professional development credits, including four non-soil credits for Licensed Designers."

The certification courses have taken place, and we'd like to share the listing of professionals now certified:

Professionals Certified in Natural Shoreland Erosion Control Practices PDF

It is extremely important to protect our lake shoreline to prevent stormwater runoff which can... "contain nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants from fertilizers, pet and yard waste. Because stormwater flows over hard surfaces directly into a water body or storm drain, there is no opportunity for soil and plants to filter out pollutants." - US EPA. Keeping these pollutants out of the lake will help with water quality and will help to minimize a nutrient supply for weeds.

If you are planning a project near the lake shore, please consult with one of these certified contractors. 

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