Lake Currents – January 2013

by Jan 29, 2013Newsletter0 comments

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are only one step away from reaching our goal of treating Lost Lake/Knops Pond to kill the invasive weeds. This, of course, is next Saturday January 26th’s Town Meeting at 9:00 am. Come early as our article will be the first one addressed. This is the time for all who are committed to restoring our lakes to come forth and have your vote count.

For fifteen months, your GLA representatives have been working very hard to arrive at this point. This process, difficult at times, has been successful. In January, the Finance Committee voted unanimously to support our article! This means we have the support of the Selectmen, Conservation Commission, Board of Health, Planning Board, and Water Commission as well as the Finance Committee.

We have begun a dialogue with the Conservation Commission about implementing the Resource Management Plan (RMP). Savas Danos gave a terrific presentation on correcting storm water run-off problems at Long Pond in Littleton. The Earth Removal & Storm Water Advisory Committee (ERSWAC) is working closely with GLA to obtain a grant to inventory the Lost Lake/Knops Pond watershed for storm water related problems. These grants will require in-kind or volunteer labor from residents as well as from Groton’s Highway Department to match these 60%-40% grants. Danny Horrigan, an Eagle Scout candidate, aided by Andrew Davis our very own Sargisson Beach guardian, has completed about 80% of his project to correct severe run-off and erosion on the approaches to the beach. Thanks to Danny for all your hard work, Andrew for his guidance and all the others who volunteered their equipment and time to bring this project to fruition. The hours spent on this project will count towards that in-kind match.

The State Department of Health came this fall to sample the water in the lake near Redskin Trail opposite Rocky’s Point as filamentous algae clumps were plentiful. The bright green algae are indicative of high nutrients, but are not toxic. The water tested had cyano-bacteria, but at a low level that is not a health concern for pets or people. This is not to minimize the problem as many lakes have had to be closed because of this problem. Nabnasset Lake was closed for a time last summer because toxic levels were found. The State puts toxic level at 70,000 cells/ml. The count in Lost Lake’s north cove was only 3000 cells/ml. Annual testing for the bacteria should become part of the water quality monitoring program for all the ponds in Groton.

One of the key components of the RMP is controlling weed re-infestation at the State boat ramp. The ramp and a small area to the left of the ramp used for parking are indeed owned by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The access is administered by the Office of Fishing and Boating Access, part of the Department of Fish & Game. Kind of confusing! GLA visited both offices located in Ayer last week. We were told that no fees could be charged to use this ramp.

However, GLA has determined that the road to the ramp called Paul Revere Trail is owned by the Groton Conservation Trust. While abutters to this road have the right to cross this road to their property, the public does not. GLA is in communication with GCT and the State to try and sit down and work out how the Town could establish a fee to raise monies we will need to hire monitors to man the boat launch. A boat wash station will be another approach to look at as well. GCT owns land adjacent to the access road which may be suitable for such a facility. A subcommittee made up of GLA, GCT, Selectmen and Conservation Commission members, DFW may be formed soon as our window of opportunity towards April treatment is small.

On January 10th, Governor Patrick signed into law the Aquatic Nuisance Act that prohibits transport of nuisance weeds between inland water bodies. This is the first enforcement act to cover invasive weeds and will be a welcome tool to all lakes in the Commonwealth. How this act will be implemented is unclear at the moment, but it is another weapon in our arsenal.

Four GLA members went to Boston last month for a public hearing on the herbicide Clipper. Clipper has been recommended for use in Baddacook for its weed problem and may be the herbicide of choice for Lost Lake/Knops Pond for spot treatments when we need them. The MA Department of Agriculture held the hearing. The only other members of the “public” were two representatives of the two firms that conduct the majority of aquatic weed control in Massachusetts. I think the State employees were impressed by our turnout. The committee voted unanimously to send their findings to its final review with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). We hope this herbicide will be available sometime in 2013 and in time for Baddacook to submit a NOI to treat the pond in 2014.

The Town Manager contacted GLA last month and asked us to read, evaluate and rank the three proposals for treating Lost Lake/Knops Pond. Art and Val Prest, Savas Danos and Alex Woodle independently reviewed and evaluated and arrived at the exact same rankings with Aquatic Control Technology (ACT) leading the pack. Mark Haddad then opened the monetary bids and these also aligned perfectly with our rankings. So ACT will be applying the Sonar this spring.

Remember your vote really counts, so please turn out early Saturday morning for Town meeting and vote for Article 1’s passage. Let your neighbors know, too.

Respectfully submitted,
Alex Woodle