Blog

The Importance Of The 2020 Census For Our Community

Hello to all in the Lake St. Catherine community.

We were recently contacted by Peter Hathaway, the Rutland County rep for the 2020 Census. We discussed the importance of the 2020 census, and how low the response rate has been for our area. 

On the importance of the 2020 Census from the 2020 Census website:

"School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.

Think of your morning commute: Census results influence highway planning and construction, as well as grants for buses, subways, and other public transit systems.

Or think of your local schools: Census results help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and for grants that support teachers and special education.

The list goes on, including programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, to prevent child abuse, to prepare for wildfires, and to provide housing assistance for older adults."

The low response rate could be related to the amount of seasonal properties in our area. So, Peter asked if we could share the attached flyer:

So, we hope you can all take a moment to fill out the census questionnaire by clicking here: www.my2020census.gov. It is very important for our community!

Thank you.

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COVID-19 Related Guidelines For The LSCA Boat Launch From Vermont Fish & Wildlife

Hello to all in the Lake St. Catherine community. We hope you are all staying healthy and well.

The LSCA was just provided the following information from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department concerning the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and how that may potentially impact boating activities this summer. The stay at home order was recently extended to May 15th.

The department’s Fishing Access Areas are open 24/7 as they always have been, but the public is reminded to practice safe social distancing and only recreate with people that you have been self-quarantining with.

Information from Vermont Fish & Wildlife:

"In order to comply with the Governor’s orders for maintaining essential services and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, VFWD will not be providing portable toilet services, installing docks, or allowing Public Access Greeters. This will last until at least May 15th to keep the public and contractors safe and healthy during this pandemic.

To use the access areas safely, the public is reminded to practice social distancing and only recreate with people that you have been self-quarantining with. While using the fishing access areas, ANR asks residents to use the necessary precautions to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

• Don’t leave the house if you are feeling ill.
• Only travel and fish with those in your immediate household.
• Maintain at least a six-foot distance at boat ramps (about the length of a fishing rod when held out at arm’s length).
• Avoid congregating in congested areas like fishing platforms, ramps and docks, and popular shore fishing locations like bridges or culverts.
• Don’t pull your boat on shore next to another boat while loading and unloading.
• Avoid unnecessary stops on the way to and from fishing or boating.

Residents are always asked to maintain on-going aquatic invasive species spread prevention measures to comply with the Aquatic Nuisance Species regulations (10 V.S.A. 1454). These regulations require persons to inspect their vessel, vessel trailer, motor vehicle and other equipment upon entering and departing a waterbody and to remove any aquatic plants, plant parts and aquatic nuisance species found on vessels or equipment.

The recreational boating season generally kicks off Memorial Day weekend and ANR is working to develop practical guidelines, potential training opportunities, and educational and informational signage to support invasive species spread prevention operations that will be available prior to that time. However, Special Use Permits and Public Access Greeter Programs are on-hold until further notice. Staff will continue to work with boaters and Public Access Greeter Programs to keep them updated to ensure a safe boating season."

The LSCA is committed to our Greeter / Aquatic Invasive Species Program. Keeping invasive species out of LSC is one of our top priorities. Over the past few months, we have been preparing our 2020 program - and we hope to be able to kick it off over the Memorial Day weekend.

We'll keep you up to date.

Be well.

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COVID-19’s Impact On The Lake St. Catherine Association’s 2020 Budget

Hello to all in the Lake St. Catherine community.

First, we hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please be sure to follow all CDC advice to keep yourself safe.

We’d like to take a few moments to inform you on how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the Lake St. Catherine Association’s efforts for the 2020 season.

Over the Fall of 2019, the LSCA applied for numerous grants from various environmental agencies. In the late Winter / early Spring of 2020, we were very happy to learn that we were awarded 4 grants. However, we’ve recently received indications that these may be in jeopardy. Then, this week, we’ve learned that one has just been cancelled.

We are also very concerned that planned State and local government funding may also be pulled or reduced.

We are now in the process of adjusting and updating our 2020 budget to accommodate these uncertainties. We will need to make some difficult decisions on how to best use our available funding for the benefit of Lake St. Catherine.

During this uncertain time, the LSCA will continue to work on our important lake management programs, some of which include: stormwater runoff & pollution control, water testing, lake safety, milfoil control, boat launch monitoring (Greeter program) / aquatic invasive species education & prevention. You can learn about our efforts in more detail by clicking here to read our 2019 Year In Review

With all this in mind, we would hate to lose any ground in preserving and protecting our watershed, so we respectfully ask our members to please submit your dues as soon as possible so we can have a better idea of the funds we will have available for budgeting.

We started our 2020 membership drive in mid February, and we are happy to report that we’ve had 204 members submit their dues so far - so we are off to a good start. Last year, we had 350 paid memberships. 

Each season, we work to grow and expand our membership base, which we have done over the past 4 years. However, we realize this may be a difficult goal for 2020 as folks may be out of work, or worried about what the future will bring.

If you plan on becoming a member for 2020, please do so as soon as you can. It will be very helpful to know how much we will receive in membership dues as we continue to work on our 2020 budget.

You can also download a copy of the 2020 membership form 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. 

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.

To all of our potential LSCA members out there in the lake community, we hope to earn your support in 2020.

Thank you to our members for your support this season. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Thank you.

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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!

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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.

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Wells And Poultney Vote To Provide Funds To The LSCA On Town Meeting Day 2020

On Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020, the residents of Wells and Poultney voted to provide $12,000 and $15,000, respectively, in support of the Lake St. Catherine Association's mission of the preservation, protection and maintenance of Lake St. Catherine.

We'd like to thank the good folks of both towns for their support. These funds, along with membership dues and contributions, will help us direct and fund 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. You can read more about all that the LSCA does in the Our Purpose section of our site.

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.

Thanks again to the residents of Wells and Poultney!

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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.

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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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