Your 2018 Lake St. Catherine Association Contributions At Work

Hello good folks of the Lake St. Catherine Community.

First, we'd like to thank everyone who has contributed their membership dues or has made a donation to the Lake St. Catherine Association this season. All of these contributions help us fulfill our purpose for the preservation, protection and maintenance of Lake St. Catherine.

These contributions included: renewing members, new members, members from the past, donations, and contributions in memory of a family member who loved the lake.

Thank you to all.

So, what are some of the ways we put these funds to good use for the lake? Let's take a look.

Milfoil Control

Unfortunately, Lake St. Catherine contains an invasive weed named Eurasian Watermilfoil, (milfoil or EWM for short).

In 1979, the LSCA started its effort against milfoil using a mechanical harvesting machine. Many long-time LSC residents remember "Hungry Harvey" chewing through the milfoil around the lake. All the while, the LSCA continued researching other possible solutions.

However, after years of harvesting the milfoil, the LSCA realized that this process may be making the situation worse. During the harvesting, only up to 4 feet of the milfoil bed is cut and small milfoil fragments are created, which can float away and create whole new beds of milfoil. Milfoil also regrows very quickly after being cut.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has this to say about mechanical harvesting:

"Some mechanical harvesting was used for EWM control on Lake St. Catherine from 1985-2003, this method did not provide a satisfactory level of control and may have contributed to its spread via fragmentation. Experience with mechanical harvesting on Rutland County lakes in the 1980’s and 1990’s showed that harvesting resulted in dense beds of EWM since the aggressive plant is quickest to regrow after cutting." (please note: as mentioned above, we started in 1979, not 1985) - Permit Response #2014-C01

So, after much research and discussion, in 2002, the LSCA filed for a permit to treat the lake with an herbicide called SONAR. This permit was approved, and the lake was treated in 2004. A season-end survey after the treatment showed less than .10% of viable milfoil cover in the entire lake. A quick note on these year end reports: at the end of each season, since 2004, the LSCA has funded Aquatic Vegetation Management Reports which can be viewed on the Links & Downloads page on our website.

However, we knew this would not be the end of the milfoil - and we prepared to follow up this treatment in the following years to keep the milfoil under control.

Each year since that initial treatment, we've used spot treatments of the herbicide called Renovate - and in recent years, we've also added a dive team employing a technique called DASH - Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting. This combination of spot treatment of herbicide and DASH has been very successful in controlling the milfoil.

At the beginning of each season, the LSCA and SOLitude Lake Management perform a survey of the lake to map the milfoil growth - and mark the problem areas using GPS. We then create a plan to spot treat some areas with Renovate and suction harvest the rest. In recent years, our treatment program has been approximately 50% spot treatment and 50% DASH.

Now, you may have an objection to the use of herbicides to control the milfoil. If you outright object to the use of herbicides, we may not be able to have a productive discussion about them, but we hope you'll continue to read on.

We've taken note of comments made about herbicide use in the lake. Here are some: "harmful", "unhealthy", "toxic", "poison", "chemicals" (and in every combination you can think of). These terms are used by those opposed to herbicides to be provocative or scaremonger about their use. Here are a few more: "How does everyone feel about this poison in the water?" Or, how about this one, "With toxic herbicides, the milfoil comes back, usually worse than before and must be poisoned again." No data, facts or scientific references, just scary words.

This is certainly not the way to have an intelligent, productive discussion.

So, let's talk about the herbicide that is used - it is called Renovate.

On triclopyr (Renovate), from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources:

"At the request of the Lakes & Ponds Program, the Vermont Department of Health has conducted a review of the proposed use of herbicides and determined that it poses negligible risk to public health if conducted in accordance with its recommendations. To date, the Lakes & Ponds Program confirms that no health problems or elevated risk have ever been directly attributed to the use of triclopyr." - Permit Response #2014-C01

The EPA classifies Renovate as "practically non-toxic" (which is their highest rating) to mammals, fish, amphibians and birds.

But don't just take our word for it - please do your own research.

If you have questions or concerns about the use of herbicides to control milfoil, please plan on attending our Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner on Saturday, July 21st at 6PM at the Lake St. Catherine Country Club. A milfoil and milfoil treatment expert will be on-hand to give a brief presentation and answer your questions.

This season, we treated 5 spots on the lake with Renovate on June 18th, and 13 others will be treated by DASH over the next few months.

Keep an eye out for Beck and his crew on the lake performing the suction harvesting. Here are some photos of the DASH in progress as they were working just north of the island last week:

LSCA's suction harvesting boat and equipment

Milfoil is efficiently removed from the lake bed suctioned up to the conveyor and stored in buckets

This is a "Diver Down' flag, indicating that one of the crew is underwater harvesting

You can learn more about this season's milfoil treatment program here: "LSCA Announces 2018 Milfoil Treatment"

Invasive Species Control and Education - Greeter Program

Milfoil is not the only invasive species we need to worry about.

Each season, the LSCA works with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to staff the LSC boat launch with well-trained inspectors called Greeters. They are paid personnel of the LSCA.

These Greeters inspect incoming and outgoing watercraft looking for invasive species of plant and animal life. Through their efforts, we can closely monitor and prevent other invasive species like Alewife, Asian Clams, Spiny Water Fleas, Water Chestnuts and Zebra Mussels carried on visiting boats, from invading Lake St. Catherine.

On duty from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on designated days beginning Memorial Day and continuing through Labor Day, the Greeters interact with boat owners providing information about invasive species and the need for boaters to adhere to the rules and regulations governing use of the lake.

Greeters on duty at the LSC boat launch:

The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife - LSC Boat Launch - Greeter on Duty

Photos and descriptions of invasive species to keep an eye out for

LSCA Greeter Jon speaks with a boat owner

LSCA Greeter Jon speaks inspecting the boat and trailer for invasive species

Jon, one of a few possible Greeters you may meet at the boat launch, reports that he enjoys interacting with boaters and educating them on the rules and regulations when launching or retrieving your boat. Thank you for being kind and courteous to the Greeters as they work to keep our lake safe from invasive species.

You can learn more about the Greeter Program and the updated rules and regulations here: Vermont Public Access Greeter Program Manual (PDF). The new regulations are listed in Appendix A on page 26 and 27.

Boating Safety Classes

Each season, the LSCA sponsors two free boating safety classes in cooperation with the Vermont State Police, Marine Division. Frank Callahan, LSCA board member in charge of Lake Safety, teaches the classes. One class is held in Poultney, the other in Wells.

These 8 hour classes, taught over 2 days, must be completed by anyone born after January 1st, 1974 to legally operate any motorized vessel - including personal watercraft.

We're happy to report that both classes this season each have 25+ students.

After passing the test, students will receive a license to operate motorized vessels, which is good in all 50 states.

Frank teaching the Boating Safety Class at the Poultney Volunteer Fire Department

LSCA Newsletters

Although we keep you up-to-date with the latest LSC news on our website Blog and on Facebook, we still like to produce a Spring and Fall newsletter. This gives us a chance to inform you about upcoming events & activities in the Spring and a summary of the season in the Fall. Printed copies of our Spring newsletter we made available at Otto's Cones Point General Store and at the Wells Country Store in late May. Some copies are still available. You can also view a digital version of the Spring Newsletter here.

Lily Pond Channel Restoration Project

This project was completed in the Fall last year, but we want to mention again. Some additional contributions made this year were specifically noted to be in support of the completion of the channel restoration. 

This $35,000 project restored connectivity between the Lily Pond and North Bay by using a hydro-rake to remove sediment and organic debris fro the middle of the connecting channel.

You can learn more about this project here: "LSCA Approves Lily Pond Channel Restoration Project".

We hope you find our efforts worthy of your contributions.

We welcome your comments at [email protected], or at our Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner on July 21st.

Thanks for reading - and your continued support of the LSCA.

Are you a member yet? Maintaining the lake costs approximately $100,000 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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