Blog

Predict Ice Out Day 2020

Hello LSC fans.

I'm guessing we could all use a little distraction from current events... That, along with some open water appearing on the lake - makes it feel like a good time to start up #IceWatch2020.

So, let's try to have a little fun again this Spring and make some predictions for when the ice will go out.

Last year, with her guess of 4/15 at 6:00 AM, our winner - and 2019 LSC Ice Out Champion was Judy Cummings.

We called Ice Out a little early last year, and had to be corrected by many eagle-eyed ice spotters around the lake. We hope you'll share your ice reports again this year!

Make your prediction here: LSC Ice Out Prediction Form

The winner will be crowned "LSC 2020 Ice Out Champion" and will have bragging rights all year!

Make your guess - and good luck!

Read More

Long-Time Lake St. Catherine Association Trustee Phil Pope Has Passed Away

Hello good folks in the LSC community. Unfortunately, we have some sad news to report.

Long-time Lake St. Catherine Association Trustee Phil Pope has passed away.

You can read about Phil in his obituary appearing in the Rutland Herald by clicking here.

LSCA President Jim Canders wanted to share this comment about Phil:

"We all lost a true American and outspoken advocate for the health of Lake St. Catherine. As his obituary noted, he was a man for all seasons, Lake St. Catherine in the summer, salmon fishing in Alaska in the fall, a ski trip to the Western US during the winter and skiing at Bromley after he returned from his trip to the West. However, and most importantly to each of us, he was our friend. As a Board member, he held an unwavering concern for, and care of Lake St Catherine. He will be truly missed."

Other LSCA board members offered their thoughts and recollections of Phil:

- "He was a dedicated and valuable member who had determination and focus on stewardship of the lake for nearly 50 years."

- "What a full and joyful life..."

- "Phil Pope not only loved Lake St. Catherine, but he also worked hard as part of the Lake Saint Catherine Association to keep it special. What a great man!"

- "He and Polly loved LSC, and were dedicated to the health and beauty of the lake for so many years."

- "Phil was always a true Gentleman with a smile and warm greeting. He will be greatly missed."

Funeral services will be held at the First Congregational Church of Manchester at 2 p.m. on March 28, 2020. A gathering will be held at the church fellowship hall following the service. A brief graveside interment ceremony will be held on Aug. 1 in Poultney, with a celebration of life to follow at the Lake St. Catherine house.

We all thank Phil for his many years of dedication and hard work in service of the betterment of Lake St. Catherine.

We offer our sincere condolences to Phil's family.

Read More

LSCA and LSCCF Sit Down For Little Lake Meeting

Hello LSC community,

We'd like to inform you about a meeting that took place Saturday afternoon between representatives of the Lake St. Catherine Association (LSCA) and the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF) to discuss the future of Little Lake.

Last week, a Little Lake property owner reached out to both groups requesting a meeting between the two associations. We both accepted, and they graciously hosted the meeting at their Little Lake property which included our host, their neighbors, and 3 reps each from the LSCA and the LSCCF.

The LSCCF discussed their proof of concept dredging project, their mechanical harvesting plans, and their aeration permit that is under review by the DEC.

We discussed our thoughts on coming back into Little Lake with our milfoil control program in an effort to gain better control over milfoil lake-wide.

While the meeting became contentious at times, and we continue to have fundamental differences - by the end of the meeting, we were having a civil discussion. We both agreed to keep in touch, and to keep sharing information.

We'd like to thank our host and their neighbors for their efforts to set up this meeting to create a dialog between the LSCA and the LSCCF.

We hope this will lead to other opportunities to speak with Little Lake property owners. If you have any comments or questions, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Thank you.

Read More

Infiltration Steps Workshop - The Results!

Hello LSC.

A few weeks ago, we told you about an upcoming workshop on installing infiltration steps on your property.

Infiltration steps minimize the potential for erosion and runoff. As a result, they prevent excess nutrients, sediments, and other pollutants from entering the lake.

It is extremely important that we ALL take a good look at our lakeshore property and mitigate potential areas of stormwater runoff into the lake. Stormwater runoff carries pollutants and nutrients that help to feed weed growth.

The Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District partnered with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) for an educational opportunity on infiltration step installation. Justin Giebel, coordinator of the VYCC lead the installation and education of PMNRCD staff on this project.

The day started out with Justin leading the PMNRCD staff in an icebreaker which incorporated some safety, stretching  and humor. Justin asked each member of the circle to lead the team in a warm-up stretch of their choosing, list a safety tip for the day, and then bestow a super power to the person on our left. The catch on the super powers? They had to have an inconvenient side effect. That lead to some funny exchanges as the crew got ready for the day ahead:

Everyone then got right to work:

Here is a time lapse video of the installation of the first 2 steps:

As they were working up to the 3rd step - a BIG problem presented itself:

A GIGANTIC rock. But, as you'll see in the photos below, a plan was created and implemented to accommodate the rock - and incorporate it into the deisgn.

...and here are the results:

Before:

After:

There is now a safe way to walk into the lake AND infiltrate runoff water before it enters the lake!

Through Lake Education and Action Program (LEAP), the PMNRCD partners with homeowners along Lake Saint Catherine and Lake Bomoseen to provide education and promote good land stewardship practices to protect the water quality in the lake. The District combines forces with a team of Poultney High School student interns to provide native buffer plantings and invasive plant removal activities, complete educational surveys, and go door-to-door with information about a variety of water quality topics.

...and now they have added infiltration steps to their skill set!

If you are interested in installing steps or buffer plantings on your property through the PMNRCD LEAP Program, please contact Ashley Leemans, LEAP Coordinator at [email protected]

An excellent job by all involved!

Read More

Infiltration Steps Workshop On LSC - July 10th

Hello LSC.

We'd like to let you know about an upcoming workshop on installing infiltration steps at your lakeshore property. Infiltration steps minimize the potential for erosion and runoff. As a result, they prevent excess nutrients, sediments, and other pollutants from entering the lake.

On Wednesday, July 10th 2019, Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District will be partnering with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) for an educational opportunity on infiltration step installation.


Photo Credit: awwatersheds.org

Justin Giebel, coordinator of the VYCC will be leading the installation and education of PMNRCD staff and any other interested parties.

This workshop will be taking place at 396 Cones Point Road, Poultney, VT at 9:30AM.

If interested in attending or installing steps through the PMNRCD LEAP Program, please contact Ashley Leemans, LEAP Coordinator at [email protected]

You can learn more by reading this Vermont DEC Lake Wise publication on infiltration steps.

Read More

Become A Cyanobacteria Monitor

Hello LSC.

We'd like to let you know about a program created by the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) to monitor for cyanobacteria on all VT Lakes & Ponds.

So, we are looking to connect with folks from Lake St. Catherine and other local water bodies to attend a class presented by FOVLAP to teach you how to become a cyanobacteria monitor. You do not need a boat, or any special equipment. 

From the Vermont Health & The Environment website on Cyanobacteria: "Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are naturally found in fresh water in the U.S. and in Lake Champlain and other Vermont waters. Some types of cyanobacteria can release natural toxins or poisons (called cyanotoxins) into the water, especially when they die and break down." You can click here to learn more about Cyanobacteria.

Last season, there was a brief bloom of Cyanobacteria that appeared in the channel from Halls Bay, which you can read about here. The bloom was quickly identified and the Vermont DEC dispatched a crew to contain it.

If you would be interested in attending this presentation, please email us at [email protected]. If we have enough interest, FOVLAP will schedule the seminar. It would be great to have residents around the lake trained in identifying Cyanobacteria so any possible future blooms can be quickly identified and contained.

Info about the program can be seen in the image below.

Thank you!

Read More

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

Natural Shoreline Erosion Control Certification

Calling all Landscapers, Contractors, and Site Workers that work on Lake St. Catherine... We'd like to 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."

2018 Training Locations and Dates:

Monday, November 5 - Castleton University
Wednesday, November 7 - Lake Champlain Sea Grant and UVM Extension
Friday, November 9 - Associated General Contractors of Vermont

To register and for general questions, please contact David Addeo at [email protected].

For questions about curriculum please contact Amy Picotte at [email protected].

The course costs $20 to attend.

If you complete the certification - or if you have already, please let us know! We'll list your Natural Shoreland Erosion Control certified business on our website.

To read more about this important program, please read the "Vermont Natural Shoreland Erosion Control Certification Program - 2018 Legislative Report".

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.

Please spread the word. Thank you!

Flyer for the upcoming dates:

Read More