Lake Currents – March 2013

by Mar 29, 2013Newsletter0 comments

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope everyone survived our late burst of winter weather? What a difference a year makes. Any ice still remaining in the ponds is isolated and shrinking fast in some shaded coves. The good news is ice out will be a lot later than last winter’s February thaw. There are no patches of previous year’s weed growth breaking the surface. Lots of news to share with you, so let us begin.

January Town Meeting
Thanks to all that came out and supported our funding article. It passed easily on a voice vote, but it was important that we had such a strong showing. The one fly in the ointment was the surprise non-support of the Groton Water Commissioners. We had been advised and shared with them and the water superintendent any and all news about our plans throughout the process. We had been told of their support, but this was untrue.

We decided to meet with the Commission to find out what had happened and why they decided to speak at town meeting without communicating with us or any other boards in town. This meeting took place last week. Without boring you with the details, we did agree that a better job of communicating on their part would have eliminated any last minute surprise. Our arguments for the treatment did not seem to convince this board to change their opinion no matter what the science says.

I want to remind you of the upcoming elections on April 30th as there is a contest for a resigning Water Commissioner. One of the candidates has a scientific background in geology and hydrogeology. His name is Mark Deuger. We feel that background and his experience may be useful to future decisions from this board.

Lake Treatment and Boards in the Dam
Aquatic Control Technology (ACT) will be applying Sonar on or around April 15th. In order for most effective treatment, it is important to begin with lake level as low as possible. For that reason, the boards will not go into dam until the time of treatment or shortly thereafter. Low water will allow us to control the level of the herbicide we need to successfully do its job. These levels have to be sustained for several weeks. We will be attacking the weeds early in their growth cycle to minimize the number of applications needed (thereby reducing costs as well). I hope Mother Nature will cooperate and not deluge us with rain during this time.

New stainless steel channels to hold boards are being fabricated and will be installed prior to treatment. The Town of Groton through the Department of Public Works will be doing this work. Thanks go Tom Delaney and his crew, Val Prest for designing and drafting the plans for the steel channels, and Mark Haddad for helping to quarterback the entire process.

Post Treatment
As mentioned above, early treatment has its advantages. Another major advantage is treating the weeds before they have grown too much. The Sonar attacks roots of the plants and as such we expect that as the treatment progresses, there may appear floating biomasses of weeds in heavily infested areas. Lily pad plants will also be effected (they usually recover in subsequent seasons) and their root tubers are large and may float to surface with mud. These “rafts” of weeds may look like “islands” are being created, but we hope to remove some of this biomass with the harvester. If we are successful it will reduce biomass and nutrients released by the decaying plants. The uncollected weeds will eventually sink to the bottom.
Please do not freak out if you see mud flats rising to the surface – they will eventually sink to the bottom as the weeds die off.

Boat Launch
We met with the Groton Conservation Trust (GCT) (who owns the road down to the boat launch and about one acre to the right of the road) to discuss the use of their land and the possible donation to an organization that will help to prevent the transport of invasive weeds into or out of the lakes. They are very receptive to doing the right thing to protect our lakes and are willing to donate the land for that purpose.

In the meantime we are trying to interest the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in taking over this land and helping us to establish a wash station. We hope to provide some type of monitoring at the boat launch for this season. We are looking for monitors, so if you know of some people who can turn out that would be helpful. Pay will probably be minimum wage. They would greatly benefit from the program mentioned in the next section.

We also met with Department of Fish and Wildlife supervisor and discussed access to launch and the establishment of a wash station. She was generally supportive of protecting the lakes from a re-infestation.

We are awaiting more information on signage and enforcement of the new law prohibiting transport of nuisance weeds between inland ponds. We are hopeful that DCR will provide this information soon.

Weed Watcher Program (contributed by Jim Luening, VP of the GLA)
A key goal of the Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Lakes and Ponds Program is to prevent further infestation of lakes and ponds by exotic invasive aquatic plants, and to work towards controlling and removing existing populations of exotic invasive plants. To meet this goal they have developed a program to train local lake groups to monitor their ponds for the presence of these species and to develop a removal plan if an infestation is found. As the GLA moves forward on eradicating invasive weeds and monitoring for future infestations, this training will be very valuable. It will also tie us in to state wide efforts. To that end we have set up a training class to be conducted by Tom Flannery of the DCR.

The Volunteers for the Invasive Species Monitoring Program will:
• Join a network of groups that are part of the Lakes and Ponds MA Weed Watchers Program.
• Receive training in the identification and removal of invasive species, training materials, boat ramp signs, permitting guidelines, standard operating procedures for aquatic plant removal techniques and reporting forms.
• Patrol their lake every other week during the summer for the presence of invasive species in key locations (boat ramps, inlets and shallow coves etc).
• Complete and return a yearly summary of the monitoring results.
• If a potential infestation is found, the Weed Watchers group will work with the Invasive Species Task Force to identify the species and to develop and implement a removal plan.
• The Lakes and Ponds Program will offer guidance with permitting issues and standard operating procedures.
• The state web site will highlight the efforts of the Weed Watcher groups.

By monitoring our lakes or ponds you are taking an active role in ensuring the protection of your lakes for the future.

The training class will be held on May 28th at the Lost Lake Fire Hall where there will be room for up to 15 people. Training will be from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. If you are interested, please contact Jim Luening at luening11@gmail.com or 978-448-3649. Please provide your name, address, phone number and email address. We look forward to seeing you there!

Weed Harvesting in Baddacook 2013
On April 9th, the Conservation Commission will take up the Notice of Intent (NOI) prepared by Baddacook Pond to use the weed harvester for extended periods of time this season with no restrictions on water temperature. The State has already given its blessing and issued a short list of conditions. We are confident that the Conservation Commission will also give their permission. If you can attend and be supportive, mark April 9th on your calendar.

Respectfully submitted,
Alex Woodle