Lake Currents – November 2012
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Summer has faded quickly into fall and there is ice on the ponds. It is time to bring everyone up to date on continued steps towards the restoration of our ponds. We have come a long way from a year ago when we were faced with an endangered weed as well as all the permissions needed to treat our lakes with the herbicide Sonar.
The Lost Lake Sewer went down to ignominious defeat at the fall town meeting. It became obvious early on in the meeting that there was little or no support for this project by Lost Lake area residents or many others in town. The issue is not dead, however, and may be revisited in a different form later. We will discuss this subject in more depth in another newsletter.
The presentation by the Finance Committee regarding the sewer project at the fall town meeting was condescending and painted the lake residents as disconnected from the remainder of the Town. We must reverse that image by restoring our lakes, pushing for the re-opening of Sargisson beach and the regulation of the public boat launch. These are components that link the town to the lake. We can accomplish that through implementation of the Resource Management Plan (see below).
In October we had a public hearing that went very well. There was an exceptional turnout by lake residents and in the end the Commission voted unanimously in favor of our NOI to treat the lakes.
Two weeks later, representatives of GLA attending the Conservation Commission’s meeting to hear the Order of Conditions (O of C). It was obvious from the start that none of the commissioners had seen the O of C before they were distributed at the meeting. They had been prepared by the conservation administrator. While two of the commissioners and your representatives tried to object or interject comments during the “speed reading” of the O of C, we were told that the hearing was closed and no discussion could be made! The Commission then voted unanimously to accept the O of C.
Some of the orders were not relevant to our application and your GLA representatives raised these issues with the Town. GLA President Art Prest had a very constructive discussion with the chairman of the commission about how the commissioners and the applicant were shut out of any meaningful discussion of the Order of Conditions. He agreed that the commissioners should see the O of C before the vote to discuss any problems.
This issue was further raised by GLA member Alex Woodle to the Wetland Bylaw Review Committee. They will recommend to the Conservation Commission that the procedure of reading the O of C be inclusive of the commissioners as well as the applicant and level the playing field and reduce or eliminate any potential conflicts.
The Conservation Commission invited GLA representatives to attend their recent meeting where we had a very cordial and useful discussion of the O of C and our objections. An amended set of acceptable conditions is being prepared, but has not been received by GLA to date.
In addition the Conservation Commission wishes to coordinate with the GLA going forward on such issues as stormwater management and controlling access to the public boat launch. We welcome that cooperation.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
GLA members met with the Town Manager and helped complete the Request For Proposal (RFP) for herbicide treatment of Lost Lake & Knops Pond which is being released today (November 28th) with bids being received through December 20th. The funding for this herbicidal treatment will be placed on the January 26th Town Meeting Warrant.
Originally, we were going to apply for Conservation Preservation funds under the CPA, but those funds would not be available until after the scheduled treatment. We can return to these funds as a possible source for future projects.
Fall Clean-up of Sargisson Beach
About a dozen intrepid volunteers showed up at Sargisson Beach, Saturday November 17th to rake up leaves and accumulated weeds. Two full trailer loads of were removed during the two and one half hours. Thanks to all volunteers and especial thanks to Bill Strickland of Baddacook for hauling the loads to the landfill.
This past week, Groton’s Highway Department did some clean-up and filled potholes at the entrance. Danny Horrigan’s Eagle Scout project of placing numerous waterbars across the paths leading to the beach will prevent further erosion of the pathways. These barriers will break the energy of rainwater and carry it harmlessly off into the woods. Andrew Davis and John Giger of Whiley Road together with Selectman Jack Petropoulos and his backhoe spent three weekends spreading wood chips on the pathways in Danny’s work areas. The work is about 80-90% complete. A big thank you to all who participated.
Residents of Baddacook have been meeting on a regular basis and have embraced GLA as the main supportive entity to push ahead with their plans for herbicidal treatment and weed harvesting. A letter signed by many members of the GLA was sent to State bureaucracies, local political representatives and the Massachusetts Congress of Lakes and Ponds (MACOLAP) asking for a speedy approval process for Clipper, an herbicide already registered in most states that is recommended for use in Baddacook for its specific infestation issues. The hope is for a 2013 approval of this herbicide with an aim towards treating Baddacook in 2014.
A new NOI for weed harvesting will be prepared for submittal to the State allowing Baddacook to use the weed harvester throughout the season rather than be limited by the water temperature. Funding for the NOI will be discussed at the next Great Ponds Advisory Committee meeting.
Appearance Before Finance Committee
On November 27th GLA representatives made a presentation to the Finance Committee on our proposal to treat the weed infestation on Lost Lake/Knops Pond. It was couched in terms of a cost/benefit analysis. Art Prest stressed the higher tax burden lake residents pay compared to other areas of town, because we have waterfront. The waterfront, of course, has become less than desirable! We also pointed out how weed infestations on other lakes has negatively affected the value of lakefront properties. A number of questions were asked by committee members. The overall consensus was that our presentation made a good impression.
Special Town Meeting Saturday January 26th
The article for our funding is second on the warrant. The fire station is first and it may take some time for those discussions. It is important for as many lake residents to attend this meeting as possible and stay until our article comes up. It will take a two-thirds majority to pass the article and we want to be well represented. We will send out an email alert prior to this meeting.
Resource Management Plan (RMP)
The application of Sonar will take place in April around the time the boards are replaced in the spillway assuming all goes well at Town meeting. We will provide more information as that time approaches.
The lake community must work closely together to sustain this restoration effort in future years through individual and collective efforts. We have assured the many supportive boards in town that we will implement the RMP and be faithful to its goals. We will have to be vigilant to spot re-infestations; we need to take personal responsibility for our own waterfront by protecting from stormwater run-off through simple and inexpensive plantings; eliminate the use of all phosphorus products; clean off our boats, trailers and motors before and after we launch them into our lake; learn to recognize the invasive plants and how to remove them; support the GLA in their continued efforts to win support for the re-opening of Sargisson Beach and the regulation of the public boat launch. In the last newsletter, we printed the wrong website location for the MA Buffer Guide. Here is the website for an abbreviated 29 page version that is easy to read http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/bufin2.pdf.
Print it out and look it over for planting ideas for the spring.
The GLA will continue to disseminate information and public outreach to all residents to help them reach these goals. Together we can make sure our lakes will be safe and clean for years to come.