Lake Wononscopomuc Association
August 12, 2017
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 10:00 AM, at Town Hall, Salisbury.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Mary Silks, Donald Ross, Amy Jedlicka, John McNiff, Vivian Garfein and Gerry Reidy.
Bill reported the Eco-Harvester has been out every Wednesday with Chance Goshorn from the staff at the Interlaken Inn. We had a problem with the coupler from the drive shaft to its motor, but that seems to be fixed. The board approved the $400 purchase of an electric winch for the harvester trailer. The big town harvesters should be able to work through Labor Day and possibly a week longer. Mike Ouelette has been using the green harvester to clean up Factory pond over the past couple of weeks and it looks much better.
Directors spent the major part of the meeting discussing various conservation issues and how to deal with them. Bill said he and First Selectman Curtis Rand have both toured the property at 209 Sharon Road and found the erosion controls in place to be extensive and apparently sufficient. A landscaping plan with elevations is expected this fall.
Gerry Reidy said the problem with conservation issues is that once the act has been done the result becomes a base line. Then any remedy proposed seems to be an improvement over the damage already done. State law allows towns to impose penalties of as much as $1,000 per incident per day, he said, but previous Salisbury conservation commissions have rejected the idea of such penalties.
Mary Silks said she has studied conservation and inland wetlands regulations in other Connecticut towns. She found that some towns such as Ridgefield have strict and definitive regulations to protect their lakes. She said Salisbury Conservation Administrator Ruth Mulcahy told her told her there is no provision that would allow private citizens to propose new regulations in our town.
There was then discussion about how to get the Conservation Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission and/or the Board of Selectmen to adopt stronger environmental regulations.
Vivian Garfein said Darcy Winter at the state DEEP recommended that any regulations should be designed to incorporate the lake’s watershed because all nutrients and pollutants eventually flow down to the lake. However, other directors pointed out the complexities of various zoning districts, regulations and interests. It was generally agreed we should focus our efforts on the LA Zone around Wononscopomuc.
On a motion by Bill Littauer seconded by Gerry Reidy the directors voted unanimously that the legal committee develop regulations with penalties just for the LA Zone that we might try to get the Conservation and P&Z commissioners or Selectmen to propose and adopt. The committee will also seek a requirement that Cease and Correct and other legal notices be placed on property records.
Mary Silks reported that she took samples of three types of algae found in the lake to be analyzed and identified by the Division of Phycology at Aquatic Ecosystem Research. They were identified as Cladophora, Rhizoclonium and Spirogyra. The researcher, Larry Mariscano, reported that none of these filamentous green algae pose a health risk to humans or pets.
Mary will also purchase the equipment necessary to participate in the Northeast Cyanobacteria monitoring program with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Keith Ellis suggested that property owners around the lake ask their grounds keepers to refrain from using noisy machinery on Saturdays and Sundays since that is the only time most working people can enjoy the lake.
The next board meeting was tentatively set for October 7th.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 AM.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
June 3, 2017
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 10:30 AM.
Board members in attendance were: Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Cathy Shyer, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Spencer Finch.
On a motion by Lorna Brodtkorb, seconded by Keith Ellis the members voted to dispense with reading the minutes of the last annual meeting.
Mary Silks used a PowerPoint photo and text presentation to portray the time line of clear cutting tree removal on more than an acre of waterfront property at 209 Sharon Road. She pointed out that no proposal was ever presented to the Commission for review and declaratory ruling. When the Conservation Commission became aware of the activity a “Cease and Correct” order was issued.
There was a lengthy discussion over whether the town had done all it could or should have to stop the clear cutting of the trees in the 75 foot lake setback zone or the “Upland Review” area on an environmentally sensitive steep slope. First Selectman Curtis Rand attended the meeting to outline the steps the town has taken to deal with the issue including issuing the “Cease and Correct” order and hiring an outside attorney to review existing state and local regulations that could or should be applied in this case. He also reported that various experts have looked at the property and concluded it is now stable and not subject to erosion of sediment into the lake at this time..
The new owner of the 14 acre property Quentin Vandooseleare sent an email saying that he understands people may not like the esthetics of his landscaping plan, but he hopes that when he plants new trees, shrubs and grass they will come to accept it. He vowed that he would do what ever is necessary including retaining walls to make sure the lake is protected. Since Curtis Rand is a licensed forestry expert Mr. Vandooseleare said he would call him early next week to discuss the site.
On a motion by Gerry Reidy seconded by Keith Ellis the membership directed the board to work with the Twin Lakes Association and to budget up to $5,000 for outside counsel to determine what state or local regulations either exist or should be implemented to deal with issues that affect the environmental health of the lake.
On a motion by Lori Rubenstein and seconded by Louise Hannegan the membership voted to create a committee led by Cathy Shyer to meet with new property owners to welcome them to the lake and provide them with our brochures and pamphlets to help them meet their environmental responsibilities to the lake.
On a motion by Gerry Reidy and seconded by Keith Ellis the membership voted to petition the town to create a tax incentive for planting trees in the Lake Overlay Zone.
There was discussion about a new mission statement proposed by Mary Silks that would emphasize the goal of the association to pursue improvement of the lake environment based on scientific data and analysis. The mission statement would not replace the “Purpose of the Association” in the By-Laws, but would expand and define its goals. On a motion by Gerry Reidy seconded by Anne Stewart-FitzRoy the members voted to place the new statement on the association website.
The members also approved a photo contest Mary Silks would organize to heighten awareness of the lake and its environment. Winning photos would be posted on the association website.
There was some discussion about an issue brought to the association regarding short term property rentals on the lake. Carr and Marianne Ferguson said there are 26 Airbnb ads for Lakeville homes rentable at nightly rates. Mary Silks reported some of them offer lodging for 12 to 16 guests. The problem is that in at least one case large groups of young people are renting a home for a weekend of loud parties that result in large amounts of trash and broken bottles left in and near the lake. The Board will study the problem and confer with the P & Z over requirements for homeowners offering their properties to transients rather than as family rentals.
Cathy Shyer and Louise Hannegan resigned from the board of directors with thanks from the membership for all the work they have done for the association over many years. Two new board members were nominated: Gerry Reidy and Vivian Garfein. The membership then unanimously approved the slate of Bill Littauer, Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Mary Silks, Donald Ross, Amy Jedlicka, John McNiff, Spencer Ross, Gerry Reidy and Vivian Garfein.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 AM.
The new Board of Directors met immediately following the annual meeting to elect new officers. By unanimous vote the directors elected Bill Littauer president, Donald Ross as vice president and corporate secretary and Anne Stewart Fitz-Roy as Treasurer.
The board set four regular board meetings to be held at 10:00 AM on the first Saturday of February, May, August and October. The board also decided to arrange a conference call for members who could not attend in person.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 PM.
By: Bill Littauer
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
Board of Directors Meeting
March 18, 2017
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 10:05 AM at Town Hall, Salisbury.Directors attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Amy Jedlicka.
The board voted to support a proposal by Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Michael Klemens to define driveways as impervious surfaces when calculating the 10% maximum impervious surface total in a lake building lot. Klemens maintains that even dirt driveways become hard and non-porous after constant vehicle traffic. Opponents argue the proposal would reduce property values because owners would be further limited in the size of houses they could build. The board decided that maintaining lake water quality is more important. Mary Silks suggested the proposal could be rewritten to consider the impact of development plans on water quality rather than strict impervious to pervious proportions.
The board applauded the decision of the Conservation Commission in approving Dean Haubrich’s application with certain modifications to replace a decaying pipe and improve the drainage of Belgo Stream. Sediment from erosion by Belgo Stream has created a huge delta in the lake between the properties at 144 and 146 Millerton Road.
The board decided to accept a proposal from Mark June-Wells of Aquatic Ecosystem Research for a six month program of water quality sampling from May through October with a comprehensive final report at a cost of $14, 375. There was some discussion over whether such a program could be postponed for another year as the last one was performed in 2015. However, after the discovery of a potentially toxic Anabaena algae last November the board decided we should stay on top of any deviation in water quality norms.
Kevin Bousquet said the Interlaken Inn would again provide someone to operate the Eco-Harvester this season. The board decided we could reduce the expected contribution for participation in the program to $500 this season. After some necessary maintenance this spring harvesting around docks and beaches should begin by mid-June.
In preparation for our annual meeting June 3rd the board decided there must be broader participation by association members for the organization to be effective. Mary Silks will organize a committee on Government Affairs. This committee would monitor applications to the Planning and Zoning and Conservation Commissions and make sure applications have been filed when appropriate for work observed around the lake.
Other committees suggested were Water Quality, Environmental Issues and Communication. Amy Jedlicka offered to help Bill send out the annual spring letter to all property owners in the Wononscopomuc watershed.
By: Bill Littauer
March 19, 2017
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
June 4, 2016
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35 AM at the Town Grove Senior Center.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart FitzRoy, Margaret Douglas Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Amy Jedlicka.
On a motion made and seconded the members voted to dispense with reading the minutes of the last annual meeting October 24, 2015.
Anne Stewart FitzRoy’s Treasurer’s Report showed we had total income last year of $49,716.60 and total expenses of $27,308.77. Therefore, we ended the year with a surplus of $22,407.83.
Bill reported that our fund drive of just over a month has so far brought in 71 contributions of $18,545. Last year we had a total of 124 contributions totaling $47,684.
Bill reported that the association member who financed the $60,000 purchase of the Eco-Harvester and trailer has made a very generous offer to waive all interest charges if we pay the balance of $30,000 by this September. Anne Stewart Fitz-Roy said this would save the association about $14,000 over the term of our lease purchase agreement.
On a motion made and seconded the members unanimously voted to accept the offer and pay the balance owed on the harvester this summer.
Bill said the Interlaken Inn would provide an operator for the Eco-Harvester this summer. We expect to get it operational as early as this week and begin working on all participating properties at least once a week.
The current board of directors was only voted in at the last annual meeting in October. On a motion made and seconded the members voted unanimously to approved the current board slate for the next full year.
There was some discussion about a planned remediation application to reduce the sediment carried by the Belgo Stream between 144 and 146 Millerton Road. That sediment has been creating a large delta in the lake and increasing turbidity in the water. That discussion continued at the board meeting following the general meeting.
The major feature of the meeting was a presentation by landscape designer Larry Weaner who showed how indigenous plants can be used to create a low maintenance and environmentally friendly environment around lakes. He pointed out that to use native plants successfully you have to first understand what plants will thrive and proliferate in the soil you have. Since perennial plants may take several years to develop he said you also have to understand the length of time certain plants require to dominate their environment. He showed how the more densely native plants grow the fewer weeds can compete in the same area. The key to a successful natural garden, he said, is not just picking the right plants for the soil, sun and other conditions, but also placing them so they will thrive together.
Although he is now based in Philadelphia Larry Weaner has done a number of landscapes in the Salisbury area including two on our lake. Here is some of his work.
The annual meeting was adjourned at 11:00 and a board of directors meeting was called to order.
There was discussion about the work of the Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission and how rarely, if ever, a proposed project in the lake zone has been found to have a significant impact on a water course. The president was directed to write a letter to the commission requesting copies of all commission meeting minutes for the last two years.
The board also voted to send a letter to the commission requesting that the association have at least 30 days before a decision is made to review any application filed with the commission that would have a potential environmental impact upon Lake Wononscopomuc.
The board meeting was adjourned at 12:05 PM.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
Board of Directors Meeting
March 19, 2016
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 10:35 AM at Salisbury Town Hall.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, (Treasurer) Cathy Shyer, (Secretary) Martha Baer, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Mary Silks, Donald Ross, Amy Jedlicka, John McNiff and Spencer Finch.
Bill reported that Kevin Bousquet has offered to provide a member of the Interlaken Inn maintenance staff to operate the Eco-Harvester this season. Based on our experience last summer the plan will be to cut the weeds at the docks and swimming areas of each participating property once each week. The board agree we should ask property owners who want to participate in the program to contribute at least $600 this year. We encourage larger donations so we can pay off most if not all of the remaining $30,000 debt on the harvester and save the interest cost.
Bill and Mary reported on the Conservation Commission meeting of March 14th. Wendy Hamilton presented a conceptual plan to divide her 14 acre property at 209 Sharon Road into 2 parcels of 7.3 acres and 6.7 acres so they could be sold separately.
The Commission postponed a discussion on what, if anything, it can do about Belgo Stream that has created a large delta in front of 144 Millerton Road. The Commission is waiting for a report on the stream from Sean Hayden of the Northwest Conservation District expected in a month. At the same time the Housatonic Valley Association has surveyed all the bridges and many culverts in Salisbury to assess their effect on fish and wildlife habitats and their risk of flood failure. The results will be forwarded to the town for officials to consider repairs or replacement.
However, the board discussed the need for immediate action to correct the Belgo Stream problem. The Lake Wononscopomuc Association commissioned a report by the Trinkaus Engineering firm last year. The report recommended that the partial deteriorating culvert between Route 44 and the lake be removed and replaced by settling basins or forebays at the beginning and end of an open stream. Cathy Shyer reported that Gerry Reidy is willing to work with Dean Haubrich to come up with a plan we can all support to improve both their properties and substantially reduce the sediment flowing into the lake down Belgo Stream.
Cathy Shyer reported the town my have to make a major improvement to its sewage treatment plant. Cathy suggested now may be a good time to search for grants to fund an extension of the town sewer system around the rest of the lake. The first step will be obtaining a map of the current system around the lake.
The board briefly discussed the report from Mark June-Wells on his study of the lake in 2015. He found the water quality to be quite good and the lake itself remains in roughly the same mesotrophic state. The executive summary and his complete report can be found on our website http://www.lakewononscopomuc.com/the-lake/state-of-the-lake-2015.
Don Ross and Amy Jedlicka edited our annual watershed letter which should go out this week.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 PM.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
October 24, 2015
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35 AM at Town Hall Salisbury.
On a motion by Weezie Hannegan and seconded by Keith Ellis the members voted unanimously to dispense with reading the minutes of the last annual meeting.
Treasurer Anne Stewart Fitz-Roy reported the association had total income of almost $46,000 so far this year in contributions and earnings from investments. After expenses including a $25,000 payment for the Eco-Harvester we still show a balance of about $23,000. The goal is to raise enough money to pay the balance next year of $25,000 plus interest.
On a motion by Cathy Shyer seconded by Quentin Van Doosselaere the members voted unanimously to amend the By-laws and move the annual meeting from October to June. Since the association has a spring meeting every year it seemed excessive to try to get a large membership meeting in cold weather.
On a motion by Cathy Shyer seconded by Keith Ellis the members voted unanimously to set the number of directors at 13 and to amend the By-laws to set six directors as a quorum for conducting business.
On a motion by Keith Ellis seconded by Cathy Shyer the members voted unanimously for the following slate of directors: Bill Littauer, Cathy Shyer, Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Donald Ross, Amy Jedlicka. John McNiff and Spencer Finch.
Bill reported the Eco-Harvester worked well in cutting weeds around docks and in the fairly shallow waters of swimming areas. However, it has not pulled weeds out by the roots as advertised by the manufacturer. Bill has spoken to the engineer who designed the machine and communicated by email a number of times more. He was always helpful answering questions about operation and maintenance of the machine, but he could offer no explanation as to why it would not pull the whole plant up.
Because the milfoil grows so rapidly Bill proposed that next season we plan on cutting around the dock and swimming area of all participating property owners every week. Since that is a relatively small area in each case our experience this past season indicates that such a program could be done in about 8 hours per week.
Kevin Bousquet, the manager of Interlaken Inn, offered to provide someone from his maintenance department to operate the harvester. That would relieve the association of the obligation to maintain a payroll with its attendant tax and insurance responsibilities. The Interlaken would then bill us for the service provided.
Mark June-Wells sent an interim report on lake water quality. His monitoring program began in May, but the nutrient results from September and October have not been returned as yet. He promised a full report later this year after all sampling and laboratory analysis has been completed. However, he says the data presented so far suggests the water quality was good this summer with water clarity reaching to 5.35 meters or almost 17 feet in July.
Mary Silks suggested that we should have a new vegetative mapping study done next year to give us a fresh reading of total weed cover, milfoil infestation and location of any weeds on the Connecticut Bio-Diversity list of endangered or threatened species. The last mapping commissioned by the association was completed in 2007. The vegetative survey would also provide scientifically credible evidence that harvesting on the lake or in the littoral zone has had no impact whatsoever of depleting the total weed population. Bill pointed out that grass is not removed from the lawn when it is mowed. Only the height has been reduced. The same principal applies to aquatic weeds.
On a motion by Cathy Shyer seconded by Gerry Reidy the members voted unanimously to suspend water quality sampling for one season and instead order a new vegetative mapping. Mary Silks volunteered to research possible companies for this project.
Quentin Van Doosselaere raised the problem of boats traveling too fast on the lake and endangering long distance swimmers. Bill reported that Stacey Dodge is aware of the complaints from association members and is now keeping a list of owner registrations as boats are being launched at The Town Grove. She will also put a reminder about the danger to swimmers in the letter she writes to boat owners each year. Bill will put such a reminder in our spring letter to everyone in the watershed. Stacey urges long distance swimmers to tow a bright red flotation device for better visibility. Keith Ellis suggested swimmers should also take along a shrill whistle to warn boaters who may not be paying attention to where they are going.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 AM.
By Bill Littauer
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
October 2, 2015
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35AM at Town Hall.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan. Mary Silks and Don Ross.
Bill asked for nominations for election to the board at the annual meeting, October 24th, 9:30AM at Town Hall. There was some discussion that we should invite some of the new property owners in town to join the board and someone from Hotchkiss with a scientific background who could attend most meetings.
We will have a report from Mark June-Wells on his lake water quality study this year. Mark has already said the lake seems to be in quite good shape and we could consider suspending the study for a year to save money.
Bill will present a plan for the Eco-Harvester for next season as a way to generate discussion on how it worked this past summer and ideas property owners may have for next year.
On a motion by margaret Douglas-Hamilton, seconded by Keith Ellis the board unanimously resolved: That the Town Grove staff and/or our boat watch person make note of the registration numbers of boats being launched. The purpose would be to send a message that we are increasingly concerned about boats speeding on the lake endangering long distance swimmers.
Mary Silks gave an overview of the environmental factors involved in proposals to alter and bury the Belgo stream at 146 Millerton Road. The Conservation Commission will hold a hearing on a new site plan October 21st at 6:30 PM at Town Hall. On a motion by Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, seconded by Cathy Shyer the board unanimously resolved: That the lake association take an informed interest in how any proposal would affect the environmental health of the lake and its water quality. Cathy will ask Curtis Rand to request a study from the Northwest Conservation District. Mary Silks will ask if the engineer we used a few years ago can give us an opinion and Don Ross will see what help the Connecticut Fund for the Environment can provide.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:45AM
Prepared by Bill Littauer
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
August 15, 2015
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:05 AM at Town Hall, Salisbury, Connecticut.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart Fitz-Roy, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Louise Hannegan and Donald Ross.
Bill presented a lease/purchase agreement with Bill Montgomery that was revised with the advice of Amy Jedlicka. Bill proposed that the association pay $25,000 on the $55,000 balance of the lease this September to reduce interest charges. The lease has a payment schedule of $10,000 each September 30th from 2016 to 2019 with the balance of $4,924 due on September 30th 2020. However, Anne Stewart Fitz-Roy suggested we could probably pay it off entirely next year.
Bill presented a certificate of liability insurance for the association of $1 million with an aggregate limit of $2 million. There is also a worker’s compensation policy and a property damage policy for the harvester. They were effective as of August 13, 2015.
There was discussion about the hiring of one or two part time people to operate the harvester. We will probably only operate the harvester for another four weeks this season. Anne said we probably will not pay anyone even $600 this year. The question is what to do next year.
Bill said we really cannot do much more until we install a new conveyor belt. The original belt was chewed up badly in Factory Pond by all the sticks and other debris that was taken out. There was more damage caused by the current operator’s attempt to get too close to shore or to pull weeds too close to the bottom. We learned a lot this summer! The new belt was ordered a week ago and should be here next week.
Margaret Douglas-Hamilton said she was very concerned about all the liabilities the board would face if we hired any part time employees. In addition to the normal payroll responsibilities everyone has to follow she said we would b subject to the various federal laws on discrimination, Americans With Disabilities, health care and other programs. Anne who is a CPA said those acts generally apply to companies with 50 employees or more. (In some cases 25 employees) She said they definitely do not apply to the hiring of one or two part time people.
Anne said we would have trouble justifying hiring anyone as an independent contractor because they would be using our equipment and working under our supervision. Margaret suggested we should then look to another company to supply our labor.
Cathy Shyer said she was concerned about the administrative burden we are taking on. Everything appears to be running smoothly now because Bill is doing it. But what do we do if he is not available, she asked? Another issue raised by both Cathy and Margaret was why the town is not providing more help. If the town took over our harvester, why couldn’t we then get under the town insurance policies and let the town handle the employees to operate it?
Cathy suggested that we form a committee to meet soon and form a specific proposal to take to the town. It would contain the views of swimmers, boaters, people who fish and general town residents on the importance of maintaining a healthy lake. It would emphasize the need to reduce the weeds close to shore as well as in the deeper portions of the lake where the two cutting harvesters work. Bill said he would form a committee.
There was a brief discussion about the proportion of contributions to the harvester program that could be considered a pure donation for tax purposes. Bill said that because we have had almost no labor expense this year, the cost of services provided will be very low for each contributor. He will provide a breakout at the end of the season. Depending on how we proceed next year we can calculate what our operating costs would be and how they should be distributed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 AM.
Prepared by Bill Littauer
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
June 6, 2015
President Bill Littauer opened the meeting at 9:40AM at the Town Grove Senior Center.
Board members attending were Keith Ellis, Cathy Shyer, Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer and Patricia Ranson.
Keith Ellis gave a brief presentation of how he found the Eco-Harvester manufacturer, the research he did on the machine and the owners of the unit that he contacted. He explained that one of our members agreed to finance the unit over six years at 7% interest so that we could have delivery for this season. The price of the Eco-Harvester and its trailer was $60,000.
Bill reported the unit has been delivered and is anchored at the Town Grove. Michael Ouellette will operate the Eco-Harvester under the town harvesting program. He plans to use it next week to clear Factory Pond and Trout Pond at the Grove. We will begin pulling the milfoil in the lake about the third week in June. Keith said users told him we should wait until the milfoil is stronger so it doesn’t just shred when the harvester pulls on it.
The town’s new cutting harvester is scheduled to arrive the week of June 15th. It will be used to cut the milfoil in the middle of the lake and the other areas that the general public would use for sailing, kayaking, swimming or fishing. The Eco-Harvester will be used to pull the milfoil from swimming areas and around docks of property owners who contribute at least $600 for the association’s activities. They include the boat watch, water quality analysis, environmental education and the purchase and operation of the Eco-Harvester.
We will have a better idea at the end of the first season what the operating cost was per foot of shoreline. We can then estimate the cost for the service as a portion of the contribution. We are a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization. Federal ID 06-1254848.
Contributions should be sent as soon as possible to Lake Wononscopomuc Association, Box 442, Salisbury, CT 06068.
Members who brought checks this morning noted that we could pay off the Eco-Harvester faster and save interest costs with larger donations. Our Treasurer Anne Stewart FitzRoy said she would establish a separate account for donations specified for the harvester purchase. Checks and pledges received this morning ranged from $600 to $2,500.
The meeting adjourned at 10:30AM and members walked down to the water to examine the new Eco-Harvester.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
May 9, 2015
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35 AM, at Town Hall, Salisbury.
Board members present were Treasurer Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, VP/Secretary Cathy Shyer, Margaret Douglas Hamilton, Keith Ellis, Mary Silks and Donald Ross.
Bill reported the new Eco-Harvester is scheduled for delivery to the Town Grove on Thursday, May 14th. The delivery charge includes several hours of training in the operation and maintenance of the machine.
Bill explained that even with our research on the Eco-Harvester we really will not know how rapidly it can clear Eurasian Water Milfoil or how effective it will be until we start using it. The plan is to operate this machine as part of the town harvesting operation and under the town insurance policy. Charlie Ouellette will continue to operate both the town and the LWA machines and provide the trucks to remove the milfoil to a dump site.
Charlie plans to use the machine first in Factory Pond where weeds are already growing. We expect the Eco-Harvester will eliminate the need for the chemical herbicides that have been used the past two years. Because of its shallow draft the Eco-Harvester can also be used around the docks and swimming areas of the Grove.
Under the current plan the town’s new bigger harvester will be used in the middle of the lake and in deeper water. We expect it to be more efficient than our old harvesters. Under this plan we expect the town budget to cover the operation of the big harvester for the entire season. (We will not have a so-called “second cutting.”)
The Eco-Harvester would be used to remove milfoil from the docks and swimming areas of those property owners who have a milfoil problem. It should also pick up fragments that float toward shore from the big harvester.
We will have more information and can discuss the harvesting operations in more detail at our spring meeting, Saturday, June 6th, 9:30AM at the Town Grove Senior Center. We discussed the cost of buying the machine and operating it and thought it would be fair to expect a contribution of $600 from each private property owner who wanted their dock and swimming area cleared of milfoil this first season. So far 17 property owners have expressed an interest in the Eco-Harvester plus the Town, Hotchkiss, the Interlaken Inn and Camp Sloane.
There was considerable discussion about whether the Eco-Harvester might remove too many weeds or take out weeds listed as endangered or threatened on the state’s Bio-Diversity Data Bank. We agreed to seek an opinion from a professional limnologist on this subject. We will also seek an opinion on whether and how the Eco-Harvester can safely be used on Long Pond and brought back to Wononscopomuc as we have done with our old harvesters.
The board also agreed to hire Dr. Mark June-Wells to do water quality sampling and data analysis even though his charge would be about $2,000 more than his original proposal of $6,500 because the Twin Lakes Association has not yet agreed to participate in the program. Bill has already asked Dr. June-Wells for a new agreement. He will also provide written opinions on the two questions regarding the Eco-Harvester operations.
There was some discussion about fund raising and a public relations campaign to make everyone aware of the mission of the lake association and the services we provide such as the boat watch to keep zebra mussels out of the lake, the water quality analysis and conservation efforts we undertake at the local and state level.
Several board members spoke in favor of a plan to reorient and rebrand the Lake Wononscopomuc Association as a conservation organization with a mission to protect and preserve the ecosystem of our unique Lake far into the future. This vision would create an agenda of concerns beyond milfoil infestation and removal measures to a conservation focus that would potentially appeal to all residents of Lakeville and Salisbury, not just homeowners with Lake Frontage.
Matters such as storm water runoff, herbicide use, water quality, education programs for the community (the invasive species lecture on May 2nd in the Wardell Room attracted 80+ attendees), demonstration projects to improve landscape measures to preserve water quality, youth cleanup programs, etc could be programs sponsored by a new, larger, and more affluent organization that actively recruited and welcomed community participation.
The board agreed to revisit these ideas at before and after the Spring Meeting on June 6th.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
April 11, 2015
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35AM at Town Hall, Salisbury, Connecticut.
Directors present were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Keith Ellis, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Amy Jedlicka.
Bill reported that the Eco-Harvester has been ordered and delivery is expected in Mid-May. Charlie Ouellette has agreed to handle the job of towing the unit back from the Manufacturer.
The town will use its new big harvester to cut weeds in the deeper water. Our unit will be used to cut or pull out milfoil in swimming areas and around docks while leaving low native weeds that are necessary for aquatic life. Since we have to pay for the machine and pay for its operation there will be a charge for property owners who want to remove their milfoil. The cost will depend in part on how many lake shore owners sign up. If you are interested in having your milfoil removed, please let Bill know at email@example.com.
Bill was directed to ask the cost of attachable blades that can be used to cut the milfoil rather than pull it out.
The board decided to move forward with a proposal from Dr. Mark June-Wells for water quality sampling, testing and data analysis. The Twin Lakes Association is expected to join us in the project to keep costs down.
Amy Jedlicka is working on a fund raising plan to increase our ability to provide such services as the water quality analysis, the boat watch to keep invasive species out of the lake, our educational programs and the Eco-Harvester.
Cathy Shyer is working on a public relations proposal to make people aware of what the association is doing to protect and improve the lake ecology and recreational assets.
We will send the interesting and informative booklet Mary Silks developed on good lake maintenance practices to property owners in our watershed along with our annual spring letter.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:00AM.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
December 6, 2014
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35 AM at Town Hall. Board members present were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Amy Jedlicka.
Bill Littauer reported that Mark June-Wells, Ph.D. has formed his own company and submitted a proposal for water quality sampling at Lake Wononscopomuc and Twin Lakes from May to October that would include Secchi Depth, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Conductivity, Specific Conductance, Algae Community, Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrite/Nitrate, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus. The cost for 2015 would be $6,500 for Wononscopomuc.
The Head of School at Hotchkiss, Kevin Hicks, met with Jim Morrill and Bill Littauer on Friday, December 5th, and expressed interest in supporting this program. We suggested Hotchkiss pay for a third of the cost not only as a major lake property owner but also for the educational uses it could make of such a program.
Charlie Ouellette reported the latest developments on the milfoil harvesting program. Charlie has been operating the harvesting program on Wononscopomuc for 25 years. He said the town has placed an order for a new larger and more efficient harvester at a cost of $210,000. This machine will be used exclusively on our lake. One of the old machines may be repaired for limited use on Wononscopomuc and Long Pond.
In discussions with Charlie and Curtis Rand the policy will be to use the new harvester only in deeper water of 7 to 8 feet or more. That will minimize damage to the cutting blades and rods on the machine and allow it to cover much more of the lake more efficiently. Charlie expects that under such a policy the new harvester will be able to work all summer long under the town budget of $50,000. That would eliminate the need for the Association to contribute to the so-called “second cutting.” We could put that money toward a shallow water machine.
Charlie reported that he contacted the manufacturer of the Eco-Harvester in Minneapolis for specifications on operation and maintenance. He said that while he was somewhat skeptical about the unit when he first heard about it he changed his mind after investigating it further. Keith Ellis has already received very solid testimonials from three users of the machine. Charlie said this harvester has a roller device in front instead of cutting blades. It could pull milfoil out by the roots around docks and in shallower water where people like to swim. He said it could get around the docks at the Grove where the big harvesters have never been able to work. Because it has a roller device instead of cutting blades for collection it is also used to scoop up algae.
Mary Silks questioned whether the Eco-Harvester would pull too many weeds from around the lake including those on the State Bio-Diversity Threatened or Endangered List. Charlie replied that this unit would be used in limited areas. He said the harvester operators have been doing this for years and know what is Eurasian Milfoil and what is not. Even if other weeds are pulled in some areas the amount removed would not be very large. Charlie said it would take five years of constant harvesting before this small machine could cover the entire lake weed bed. Our experience with hydro-raking has been that even when weeds, roots and silt are dredged out the weeds grow back. In some areas milfoil grows back in a month or more.
Charlie said his research indicates the Eco-Harvester pulls out the milfoil roots with a minimum of silt. He was concerned before hand about whether the Eco-Harvester loads could be handled by his conveyor belts and added to the compost piles generated by the big harvester. That doesn’t seem to be a problem. Another benefit is that the Eco-Harvester collects 90% to 95% of the weeds it pulls. It is being used elsewhere to collect the floaters that get away from the big cutting harvesters. It has such a shallow draft (10 inches) that it can come quite close to shore and draw away all the milfoil fragments that float toward the shore line.
Charlie estimates this unit could cut 100 feet of linear shoreline in four hours at a cost of $3 to $4 per linear foot. However, it may be more useful to think of daily operating cost including insurance, labor cost, taxes, fuel, disposal of the milfoil and maintenance. That could be as much as $450 per day.
Bill spoke with the manufacturer on Monday. (December 8th) There is one new unit available now at $49,500. The trailer would be an additional $4,999. However, Mike Faber at the Company said it only takes about 6 weeks to fabricate a unit and he expects to have 12 to 18 new ones available for delivery April first. They would then start a second production run for delivery at the end of June or the beginning of July. The cost of new units would be $51,900. A down payment of 20% is required when placing an order.
Mike Faber said the Eco-Harvester was designed to pull out milfoil where ever it can grab it. In other words, it could pull out the milfoil from the shoreline to 7 or 8 feet of water where the big harvester would be operating. It can also operate in very shallow water such as between the island and the eastern shore.
Before we order one there are several matters to settle. First, of course, is to figure out how to finance the purchase price of about $60,000. (Including the harvester, trailer and transportation) We will form a small committee to work up a plan. Please feel free to volunteer.
Second, before we commit to such a purchase Cathy Shyer questioned how many property owners would participate in its operation. We will send out a separate survey. Kevin Hicks said Hotchkiss would participate, but we won’t know to what extent for a couple of months until he has consulted with his board of trustees and chief financial officer. We also have to get a commitment from the Interlaken Inn and coordinate with the Town of Salisbury.
Thirdly, we need advice on whether as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization we could rent the unit out for use on other lakes to help defray the cost. Although we would only have a daily operating cost on days we actually use it we want to be sure it will get enough use to be worth buying it in the first place.
Please send Bill any ideas or help you can give on the issues listed above.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:00AM.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
October 25, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM at Salisbury Town Hall by President Bill Littauer
Board members present were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Cathy Shyer, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan and Mary Silks.
On a motion by Louise Hannegan and seconded by Lori Rubenstein the membership voted unanimously to dispense with reading the minutes of the last annual meeting.
Treasurer Anne Stewart-FitzRoy reported we have total assets of $66,248.59 compared to $67,066.44 last year at this time. Anne reported that contributions are substantially lower this year $6,990 compared to $14,402 at the same time last year. Bill Littauer suggested this may be due at least in part because we have not sent out a reminder letter as yet.
On a motion by Dave Hannegan and seconded by Louise Hannegan the membership voted unanimously to increase the Board of Directors to 14 members. On a motion by Dave Hannegan and seconded by Keith Ellis the membership unanimously approved the following Board of Directors: Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Edward Erbacher, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Bill Littauer, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Paul Oberto, Donald Ross, Stacey Dodge and Amy Jedlicka. Emily Sullivan would continue as an associate member.
Bill reported that the Town is planning to replace the two old milfoil harvesters with a new, larger and more durable machine. First Selectman Curtis Rand said the Board of Finance had approved the purchase, but that it must also be approved at a town meeting. Such a harvester would clear milfoil from the deeper areas of the lake and the middle where boaters, fishermen and people who use the Town Grove would get the most benefit.
Keith Ellis reported that he has spoken with two people who have purchased the small Eco-Harvester that could be used around docks and in shallow areas. Both users reported the machine performs very well and is easy to maintain. Parts are readily available. He said the machine tends to cut the weeds in the early part of the season when they are starting to grow, but once they start to mature and become stronger the machine tends to yank them out with the roots. The cost of the machine would be in the range of $60,000 to $65,000 with a trailer. Keith reported it weighs about 6,000 pounds and can be towed easily by a pickup truck.
On a motion by Lori Rubenstein and seconded by Keith Ellis the membership unanimously authorized the Board to investigate this machine further, produce a plan of management, start a fund drive and purchase it if it still appears to be a good solution to our shoreline milfoil problems.
Bill reported on the work done by the state DOT on Route 44 to slow the velocity of the storm water runoff that has created two large deltas in the lake. Tino Galuzzo raised the question of storm drain culverts that are clogged and should be cleaned out. The clogged culverts allow storm water to spread over the roadway and flood neighboring properties. He has brought the problem to Curtis Rand’s attention and Curtis promised to work on it.
Mary Silks reported on a meeting of the Northwest Conservation District at which Limnologist George Knoecklein discussed the effect of climate change on New England lakes. He referred to data maintained by the state of Maine for the past 100 years on the ice-in and ice-out dates. Apparently the average length of annual ice coverage has declined by 20 days. The gradual warming is allowing invasive plant species to migrate north and infest lakes that had not seen them previously. But what does it mean? We can’t do anything about climate change. Knoecklein told the group it becomes more and more important to manage the watershed and to avoid cutting down trees and allowing other actions that increase nutrient runoff.
Mary reported on negotiations that have been going on with Mark June-Wells, PhD. on lake water quality sampling, data collection and prompt analysis. The president of the Twin Lakes Association, Carey Fiertz, discussed his organization’s interest in professional data collection and analysis. He mentioned the alarm his members had this summer when a serious bloom of blue-green algae appeared. Dr. June-Wells has given us a proposal for sampling at two sites in each lake (East Twin, West Twin and Wononscopomuc) for each of 6 months, data collection and analysis with recommendations for action where necessary. Our cost would be $6,500 or 1/3rd of the total.
On a motion by Lori Rubenstein and seconded by Jim Morrill the membership unanimously authorized the Board of Directors to pursue discussions of this project with the Twin Lakes Association, The Hotchkiss School and The Town of Salisbury and, if the Board believes it worthwhile, to sign an agreement with Dr. June-Wells.
There being no further business before the membership the meeting was adjourned at 10:35AM.
A meeting of the Board of Directors was called to order immediately following and on a motion by Cathy Shyer and seconded by Keith Ellis the Board elected the following officers for the next year: Bill Littauer as President, Cathy Shyer as Vice President/Secretary and Anne Stewart FitzRoy as Treasurer.
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
Board of Directors Meeting
September 27, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 9:31AM by president Bill Littauer at Town Hall Salisbury.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Keith Ellis, Don Ross and Mary Silks.
Bill Littauer reported the total cost for the second harvesting of milfoil this summer was $10,693.50. The association’s share is $2,967.00. The harvesting contractor, Charles Ouellette, explained that he was able to use the town budget for the first cutting over a longer period. There were also some breakdowns that held up harvesting in the latter part of the season.
First Selectman Curtis Rand has announced plans to buy a new harvester for next season at a cost of some $210,000. Charles Ouellette said there are no plans to buy a trailer which will save about $40,000, but would mean the harvester would have to stay on Lake Wononscopomuc.
Donald Ross suggested that we ask the town to include in the harvester capital budget some funds for a boat to pick up weed piles on the shoreline.
Keith Ellis has found a company that makes small machines with trailers that can work very close to shore to not only cut the weeds, but pull them up as well. These machines would cost about $50,000 plus delivery and set up charges. Demo models with very low hours may be available for about $10,000 less.
Bill reported the boat watch at the Town Grove will cost $3,070.00 this fall.
Bill reported the state DOT has created a rock pool and rip-rap to slow the velocity of water pouring through the culvert at 187 Millerton Rd. That should help alleviate some of the storm water runoff that is creating a delta in front of Patricia Ranson’s property. Nothing has been done so far to fix the other storm water problems we discussed with the state drainage engineer on July 30th.
Mary Silks is working with the Planning and Zoning Commission to establish conservation regulations that may include some tree cutting regulations following guidelines already established by the state government.
Mary Silks is also working on a proposal for the association annual meeting to set up a volunteer lake data collection and observation program. This program would be undertaken jointly with the Twin Lakes Association and would be supervised by a professional limnologist.
Cathy Shyer has organized a committee with Don Ross and Keith Ellis to work on a proposal for a professional public relations campaign to expand awareness of the association, its goals, programs and conservation efforts with the goal of increasing membership.
The annual meeting will be scheduled for 9:30AM, October 25th at the Town Hall. (The Town Grove is all booked up in October with baby showers, weddings and other parties.) Cathy Shyer and Bill Littauer are working on a proposed slate for the board of directors.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30AM
By Bill Littauer
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
Board of Directors Meeting
August 17, 2014
“Humans have a very strong impact on the world around them. We have been recognizing that since The Silent Spring in the 1960s. And it’s become an important factor in how ecosystems function. One of the things people in New England have noticed about lakes is a diminishment in water clarity. Most people would regard that as a reduction in the recreational value of the lake. It also has an impact on property values.”
That was how Dr. Mark June-Wells opened a discussion at 9:35AM at Town Hall on the importance of collecting, analyzing and acting on lake data collected in a scientific manner. Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Bill Littauer, Keith Ellis, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks, Don Ross and our high school associate member Emily Sullivan. Three members of the Twin Lakes Association board also attended including new president Carey Fiertz.
Mark explained that water clarity is an important indicator of what is happening in the watershed and what is happening in the lake. To understand how the lake is functioning he recommends monitoring various factors during the entire summer from May to October. “It is also important during that cycle to evaluate the samples so you can build a data base that you can look at to determine how water quality properties are changing over time,” he said. He calls it keeping a finger on the pulse of the lake. The idea is to forecast potential problems before they occur.
What should we be monitoring? First he listed water clarity. After that he listed dissolved oxygen, conductivity, PH (the alkalinity of the water) and temperature. These are measured with a Y.S.I. probe which runs about $3300. The next set of variables we should be measuring are the nutrients. (Nitrogen and phosphorus) He recommends sampling in the two deepest points in the lake.
Mark explained it is important to sample at various depths even every meter from the surface to the bottom because there can be marked deviations between the warmer water in the upper strata and the colder water below. The separation layer is called the thermocline. What we are particularly interested in is the amount of phosphorus in the water. “Phosphorus is directly related to how much algae is in the water, algae is directly related to how clear the water is,” he explained.
He stressed the importance of sampling phosphorus at the bottom of the lake because it indicates how much phosphorus will be released to feed algae that sinks into deep water. He gave an example of Bolton Lake that had a terrible algae bloom two years ago that led to human health risks. No one saw it coming, he said, because they were only sampling surface water and the algae blooms were coming from the lower depths.
Mark says it is important to take algal samples from the surface of the water to monitor what type of blooms we have and how they are developing. Most of the brown and green algae are not leading to diminished water quality, but the group we should be looking for is the “Blue-Green” algae. If they come to dominate the system, clarity is certainly going to diminish and there may be some human health concerns for children, pets and fish. What that algae produce are cyanotoxins which can include neurotoxins, hepatotoxins and others, he said.
Gerry Reidy questioned whether we could determine how much phosphorus and other nutrients enter the lake through storm water runoff. Mark suggested taking samples at each of the three or four major streams in dry weather for a base line and then taking them when it storms to measure the difference.
Mary Silks asked if we shouldn’t be measuring Chlorophyll A. Mark said he doesn’t recommend that now since he found a lab that can do a complete workup on algal samples and tell which genera of algae is present and whether they are of any health concerns. He said the cost of such an analysis is $35 to $40.
Anne Stewart FitzRoy brought up the question most people are concerned about every summer. “What can we do about the milfoil?” Mark said we have a two pronged problem. One a reduction in water quality has led to a massive infestation of Eurasian Water Milfoil. The other is that we also have Northern Milfoil. That is a native species which is on the state list of endangered weeds. Since the beds are either mixed or so close he doesn’t think a herbicide treatment is the answer.
Because the milfoil is so dense and growing in such deep water Mark says it is leading to a eutrophication problem. The milfoil sucks up phosphorus from deep in the soil through its root system. Then at the end of the season it dies and decomposes releasing its nutrients on to the top of the soil where it can more easily rise into the water column. The harvesting, of course, removes some of the plant from the lake, but most of it sinks to the bottom.
Mark’s recommendation for our lake is somewhat surprising. He believes grass carp would be the best solution to our milfoil issue. Although the process of obtaining approval is somewhat complicated requiring studies, property owner approvals, sheltering of listed weeds and screening the outlet at Factory Pond he believes we might now get permission from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He thinks state officials are changing their view of grass carp. Mark says he is doing a study of Ball Pond in New Fairfield with the DEEP this summer to determine the impact of grass carp on other fish, plant life and water quality.
Finally he addressed the question of what can we do with all the data we are collecting and analyzing. Once you have the data base, he said, you can develop a management plan. That plan may include steps to attack the milfoil, reduce the nutrient flow into the lake and even manage the watershed. “What you do is use that management plan to apply for state and federal grants to fund your diagnostic or feasibility studies such as whether grass carp is the answer to the milfoil problem,” he said.
As for the data that we have collected so far Mark thought the historical data particularly what was listed in the 70s, 80s and into the 90s is quite thorough and useful. His criticism of the current sampling data is that it doesn’t seem to have a scientific goal. He thinks it lacks a certain consistency in time of collection and what was sampled. He said there is useful data in the current reports, but he thinks the process should be refined to follow a rigorous protocol.
In summary Mark said, “If you are interested in developing a management plan for the lake, then the first step is to follow a rigorous protocol for data sampling. After that we can begin to manage the lake.”
There was some discussion afterward about contacting DEEP about grass carp. Donald Ross suggested that we get together first with a group of state legislators and have some political muscle behind us when we go to DEEP.
Marshall Miles of Robin Hood Radio arranged to have the whole presentation video taped this morning.
Anyone who missed it and wants to watch Mark June-Wells presentation in more detail will be able to find it on YouTube under “Lake Wononscopmuc, Water Quality Monitoring.”
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
July 13, 2014
The meeting was called to order by president Bill Littauer at 9:05AM at Town Hall.
Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Martha Baer, Mary Silks, Donald Ross and Keith Ellis. We did not have a quorum.
Bill reported that 23 lake front owners have expressed interest in our milfoil raking program. So far the boys have worked on 17 properties. Three property owners have used the scuba diving team to hand pull weeds around their docks and swimming areas. If you are interested let Bill know.
We are looking for an old pontoon boat that can be converted to a flat platform to be used once every week or two to pick up weed piles on the shoreline. Stacey Dodge suggested we might lash two boats or canoes together to a make a platform that could be towed. The board suggested a budget of up to $3,000 to get the project going.
Bill reported that the Town Grove Advisory Committee discussed the possibility of establishing a hot water pressure washing system at the Grove to make sure boats being launched there do not carry invasive species. Roberta Willis proposed a bill to make state aid available for such projects. It has reportedly been signed into law now. Bill will check with the DEEP Lake Management Bureau for details on how we should apply for a grant and what environmental regulations would be involved.
Mary reported the Kingsmark environmental study has been approved, but implementation has been held up by a lack of state funding and a withdrawal of assistance by state employees.
The recent storms have focused our attention back on the huge runoff of rain water, sediment and nutrients on both the east and west sides. The deltas caused by the Belgo Road drainage systems and by the runoff from Route 44 at Patricia Ranson’s property are growing worse. We will try to get the town and state highway departments involved in finding a solution.
There was general discussion about the need for more timely reporting of our data sampling. We only received the report on last summer’s sampling a few weeks ago. It showed one of the highest phosphorus readings ever recorded in our lake. Don Mayland said it was caused by swings in dissolved oxygen that allow phosphorus to escape from the sediment under hypoxic conditions.
There were also questions about the algae we still see in the lake and the low clarity level of the water.
Martha asked what we can do with the data that we collect. Don asked, ‘If we know phosphorus levels are rising and that is bad for the lake, what can we really do about it?” Mary said we could reduce the vegetative material in the lake, but, of course, the question is how can we make a significant impact. Mark June-Wells of New England Environmental Consulting has offered to meet with our board to discuss these questions. We will try to set that up very soon.
Keith suggested we examine whether there is a correlation between the tonnage of milfoil removed from the lake in past years with the rise or fall of phosphorus levels and the length of ice on the lake each winter.
Keith also suggested we should report boats that emit excessive exhaust or leak large amounts of oil and find a way to get them off the lake.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15AM although informal discussions about our data collection and what we can do with it continued for another 40 minutes.
By: Bill Littauer
Our Lake-Our Water
The Salisbury Association Land Trust Conference
“You don’t know the value of something like water until you run out of it,” Elaine Hecht declared as she opened a discussion Saturday morning at Town Hall on our lakes, our water systems and their watersheds. She noted we depend on wells for most of our water supply. “So what happens in the watershed affects us all,” she said.
Tim Abbott of the Housatonic Valley Association outlined the major rivers and streams that drain our watersheds and pointed out there are so many that no matter where we live we all influence the environment by what we do.
Harry White, an ecologist and the Salisbury Land Trust Conservation Director, displayed photographs of the headwaters of our major rivers to show they stem from many sources. “They could be vernal pools, springs or small streams, but they compose 80% of the watershed so they have an enormous influence on the water,” he said. White said the purest water comes from a dense clean forest preferably from hemlock woods with steep cold water streams” “It’s a complex microtopography that slows water down or contains silt and protects streams and rivers below,” he said
Tracy Brown from a non-profit conservation organization called Trout Unlimited underlined the importance of the watersheds as she discussed a restoration project now underway on Salmon Kill. She pointed out that brook trout are a native species found in the headwaters on Mt. Riga, but their population has greatly diminished over time. While brown trout and rainbow trout can be found downstream, there are almost no brook trout. What is the difference in the trout? Brook trout are native to our area she said. Brown trout are not. “Brook trout is an umbrella species,” she said. “A healthy brook trout indicates many other species would also be healthy.”
The restoration project involves riparian plantings to restore vegetative canopies over the stream to cool the water, creating log jams to slow the flow and create deep thermal pools for the fish to spawn, eat and hide and repairing stream banks that have been scoured out by fast moving water.
Mary Silks represented The Lake Wononscopomuc Association in discussing the impact each of us has on the watershed and ultimately on the lake itself. She pointed out that a study in the late 1930s found visibility in the lake was about 30 feet. Forty years later it was down to 12 feet. Mary displayed an aerial photograph from the 1930s that shows almost no sediment buildup around the lake. In succeeding aerial and satellite photos we could see increased sediment flows and the creation of the deltas caused by Succor Brook and the storm drains under Route 44.
“There are at least 46 culverts draining highways into the lake. Storm water runoff carries silt, oil, road salt and nutrients into the lake,” she said. “Just one inch of rain per acre produces 27,000 gallons of water.” How we control that water determines the health of our lake. Mary said trees, gardens, bushes and rotting vegetation in the woods hold the water, filters and purifies it. Creating impermeable surfaces such as roofs, driveways and roads increases the runoff. Mary urged property owners to create “rain gardens” or shallow depressions with plantings to absorb rain water. “Down spouts should be directed into the gardens,” she said. Showing various photographs of environmentally friendly landscapes she pointed out that good plantings not only slow storm water runoff, but create beautiful settings as well.
There was a question about extending the sewer line around the lake. First Selectman Curtis Rand said the current sewage treatment plant is operating at maximum capacity now and could not absorb additional customers. He said extending the sewer line could cost more than $20 million, but he said we would continue looking into it. He said the town currently spends about $100,000 a year on water issues including harvesting and herbicide weed control in the lakes and funding various commissions dealing with conservation issues. He said Planning and Zoning has been updating its codes to help protect lake environments with new regulations on the removal of large amounts of soil or rocks.
After the conference Curtis and State Representative Roberta Willis agreed to bring state and local highway departments in to work out solutions to the various highway storm water runoff problems.
Minutes of Board Meeting
March 2, 2014
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:33AM at Town Hall. Board members attending were Anne Stewart-FitzRoy, Cathy Shyer, Mary Silks, Stacey Dodge, Keith Ellis and our two high school associate members Emily Sullivan and Christian Umana.
Bill reported that Curtis Rand is still hopeful of finding a used harvester to replace the ones we are currently using. Both the blue and green machines need substantial repairs. Whether we get a new machine or repair at least one of the old harvesters they will probably be used in the deeper water. That is more efficient and reduces the risk of damage to the cutting mechanism. However, it means we have to come up with a system to remove the weeds around docks and beaches.
Jim Morrill is checking the company he used last summer for a price on hand pulling. Bill will check on the availability of older teenagers to rake the weeds through the Summer Work Program or the High School Work Board. There are questions of insurance and other issues we have to investigate.
So far we have not found a hydro-rake system readily available, but we will continue to look into that solution. The key is a system that either cuts or pulls the weeds and also removes them. One way or another we expect to have a plan ready for presentation at the spring meeting.
Mary Silks has entered hundreds of data points for our comprehensive water quality data analysis being done by New England Environmental. It is a very labor intensive job of creating a detailed scientific file of all the data collected on the lake over more than 75 years. In the end it will be a very valuable resource.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has also agreed to support our application for a Kings Mark Environmental review. That would be a comprehensive environmental study of the town and our watersheds funded by the state.
The Salisbury Land Trust is organizing a watershed environmental forum for April 5th at 10:00AM at Town Hall. Mary Silks will be making one of the presentations on how storm water runoff is affecting our lake, what is causing the problem and how it may be addressed.
The New England Chapter of the North American Lakes Management Society is holding a two day conference at UCONN Storrs on June 13th and 14th. The theme is Green Ideas for Blue Lakes with a focus on what homeowners can do for their lakes. Our high school board associates. Emily and Christian, will help us create a poster for the conference and we expect to present the steps we have taken so far to protect our lake environment such as the boat watch, the lake keeper program, rain gardens some property owners have installed and the booklets and pamphlets we have created on good lake management practices.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15AM
Minutes of Board Meeting
July 20, 2013,
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35AM at Town Hall, Salisbury. Board members attending were: Edward Erbacher, Margret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, James Marshall, Mary Silks and Keith Ellis. Anne Stewart-FitzRoy was introduced as our new treasurer since James Marshall plans to return to England.
Most of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by Charles Ouellette on the harvesting program he has operated on our lake for the past 21 years. Charles explained that the Eurasian Water Milfoil seems to grow in cycles and that we are now in a period of years when this invasive species is most dense and covers the widest area.
Ouellette explained that the town has a budget of about $50,000 to operate the harvesters on both Wononscopomuc and Long Pond. That budget includes ordinary maintenance. The town also provides the diesel fuel to run the machines. He said that means about $35,000 is available for actual weed cutting on our lake. The hope is that all the weeds on the lake can be cut once under the town budget, but when that budget is used up the bills come to the lake association. We often refer to our share as the “second cutting.”
Because the cost to the lake association last year of $21,500 was so much higher than in the past a meeting was held on May 15th to find a way to reduce the cost. The Hotchkiss School had paid 90% of the association’s share of the harvesting in the past. However, Chief Financial Officer John Tuke said the school would have to set a ceiling of $8,000 on its share of the cost going forward. At that meeting with Tuke, First Selectman Curtis Rand, Don Mayland (our Lake Keeper and a member of the Town Board of Finance) Charles Ouellette and Bill Littauer it was agreed that the harvesters would concentrate their weed cutting in water more than 6 feet deep. That would be the most cost efficient operating system. We also agreed the lake association would put a cap of $5,000 on its contribution and the town would find another $5,000 to give us a total of $18,000 for the so-called second cutting.
Ouellette also said that each Friday afternoon, weather permitting, the harvesters would pick up piles of milfoil, other weeds and even leaves that property owners rake up and leave on their shore. He said they cannot take sticks or rocks that would damage the conveyor and blade equipment. He prefers the piles be left on the end of docks because the water at the shoreline is often too shallow for the barges to approach.
Many property owners attending the board meeting complained that the harvesters are not coming in close to shore at all. One member complained, “We are paying taxes to the town and contributions to the lake association and the harvesters are cutting the weeds in the middle of the lake for fisherman.” Ouellette suggested the association or property owners individually should make arrangements for hydro-raking, suction harvesting or hand raking to take care of shallow areas.
Oulette said the first selectman is actively researching the purchase of a new harvester. The machine bought for our lake is 21 years old. He said a new machine would cost approximately $200,000 and would be at least 5 % more efficient, but would be even less able to cut in shallow water.
Members raised the following suggestions:
- That the lake association only pay for harvesting on the shoreline,
- that property owners should apply for a tax rebate if they have to clear the weeds themselves,
- that the town impose a separate assessment on lake front footage that would be used exclusively for weed removal and
- that the town or the association purchase and operate a machine that could operate in shallower shoreline areas.
No specific motions were made. However, the board asked Bill Littauer to meet with Curtis Rand immediately to relate the Association’s concerns that the town may invest in another machine that can only cut in deep water.
Jim Morrill has already agreed to study the suction harvester being used on Twin Lakes, therefore we will get a committee together to expand our research on other mechanical means of weed removal. We expect to have a report for our next lake meeting Saturday, August 17th, 9:30AM at Town Hall.
Mary Silks gave a brief report on the storm water remediation project. She passed around satellite photos that show how silt washing into the lake on the Route 44 side has created deltas going out into the lake by 50 feet or more. These deltas appear to have doubled in size over the past ten years. Mary is collecting data on the changes made to storm water culverts over the years and the additional stress put on the storm water runoff systems. The next step would be to see what steps should be taken by the state, the town and/or individual property owners to correct this problem.
Cathy Shyer and Gerry Reidy also reported on another long term project to extend the sewer line along route 44. Several property owners have expressed an interest in hooking up town sewage to eliminate the septic tank system.
Minutes of Spring Meeting
June 1, 2013
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35AM at The Town Grove, Lakeville.
Board members attending were: Edward Erbacher, James Marshall, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Louise Hannegan, Mary Silks and Keith Ellis.
Bill introduced our two guests: Linda Frank, Chair of the Lake Waramaug Task Force and Dick Labich, President of the Highland Lake Association.
Mrs. Frank recounted the steps the towns, property owners and lake users have taken to reverse the decline of the Waramaug’s water quality due in large part to the flow of nutrients into the lake. The plan included new zoning regulations, education and the development of what are called “hypolimnetic withdrawal” systems designed by limnologist Robert W. Kortmann, Ph.D. Later Layer Aeration systems were installed. In addition to mitigating an abundance of algae the $70, 000 systems also used the abundant natural iron in the lake to bond with phosphorus in the water and force it to sink into the silt.
Waramaug does not have a milfoil problem. The lake has a strict boat inspection program funded by the towns. Trained inspectors go over every boat launched at the town site. There is some curly leaf pond weed which is treated with hand pulling by divers and by the installation of benthic barriers such as we use at the Town Grove.
Highland Lake does have milfoil which is kept in check by Aquatic Control Technology through the use of the herbicide Diquat much like Twins Lakes uses. They have a deep water drawdown every 5 years to allow property owners to repair their shoreline. Other years the draw down is only three feet. Dick Labich said his association has a unique problem because of past history and the steep watershed. Years ago much of the shoreline was divided into very small lots. Many were cleared for cabins and the number of trees was seriously reduced. The lake association has launched a legacy program to either buy raw land or seek donations of land to a trust so that vegetative buffers can be restored to the watershed.
Highland Lake has created a standing government relations committee to work with local and state officials and agencies on lake problems and to seek out grants that can be used to fund their restoration programs.
Other items discussed at the meeting were: Treatment of the weeds on Factory Pond should begin in the middle of the month. This project was requested by the Town Grove Advisory Committee and will be funded by the town.
Our new brochures and lake booklets have been printed and are available for distribution. We haven’t decided as yet just how they should be distributed. Some of the brochures will be placed at the Grove and Town Hall.
A new state law is in effect banning the use of lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus within 20 feet of the water. The fine is $500.
The Parade of Boats is scheduled for 12:00 Noon on Saturday, July 6th. Amy Jedlicka, Gerry Reidy and Patricia Ranson have volunteered to help with the burgers, hot dogs and other picnic goodies.
There was a brief discussion of the harvesting plan for this season. We will be billed each week with a cap on expenses of $8,000 for Hotchkiss, $5,000 for the LWA and an extra $5,000 from the town. To increase efficiency the harvester will concentrate on water 6 feet deep and over.
There was a brief discussion of ways we could clear weeds in shallow areas and around docks such as suction harvesting or hydro-raking, but no action was taken.
Mary Silks is heading up a storm water remediation committee for the west side watershed.
Gerry Reidy is heading up a committee to research extending the town sewer line on Route 44.
Thanks to everyone who helped clean up after the meeting.
Minutes of Board Meeting
April 13, 2013
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:30AM at Town Hall, Salisbury.
Board members attending were: Edward Erbacher, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson and Mary Silks.
1. The opening of fishing season is Saturday, April 20th. Bill Littauer will greet early arrivals at 5:00AM, Don Ross offered to take over at 6AM and Edward Erbacher said he would arrive at 7AM.
2. The spring letter was sent to 226 property owners in the lake watershed. About 10% were returned for improper addresses. Bill checked with the assessor’s office and corrected the addresses. New letters were sent.
3. We identified 9 lake front property owners who have not contributed to the association in the past 4 years. Edward Erbacher will contact them. We have also obtained new property maps and a list of property owners for the parcels around or near the lake. That way we can expand our membership efforts.
4. First Selectman Curtis Rand is still trying to set up a meeting for us with Charlie Ouellette who operates the harvesters and John Tuke from Hotchkiss to discuss such items as:
a. How harvesting charges are calculated
b. Getting bills bi-weekly
c. Establishing a cap on our harvesting charges
d. Making sure raked up piles are picked up each Friday morning
5. The board agreed to fund the SOAR children’s educational program at the lake again this May 11th at $250.
6. Connecticut has a law that took effect this year that bans the use of phosphorus fertilizer on established lawns. It is similar to the New York State law that took effect last year. The fine for using lawn fertilizers with phosphorus is $500. Fertilizers such as 10-10-10 can still be used in gardens. A good summary of the new law is attached.
7. Mary Silks has produced a great draft of a handbook on how property owners should care for the lake. She and Cathy Shyer are organizing a committee to improve it. Mary’s short brochure was widely applauded. We can print another thousand copies for $250 and will do so after Mary makes a minor adjustment in the layout.
8. The spring meeting will be June 1st. At the moment we are planning for a morning meeting and will invite someone from Twin Lakes and someone from the Connecticut Federation of Lakes to discuss how they handle invasive species such as milfoil.
9. There is grant money available from the state and private organizations for such purposes as lake environmental education or storm water runoff protection. Mary Silks has met with the Conservation Commission and will ask the Planning and Zoning Commission to adjust the new Plan of Conservation and Development to conform to requirements for such grants. Don Ross offered to contact the Connecticut Fund for the Environment to see what grants might be available for lake environmental protection.
1 The next board meeting is May 18th, 9:30AM at Town Hall.
By: Bill Littauer
Minutes of Board Meeting
February 23, 2013
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:30AM at Town Hall, Salisbury.
Board members in attendance were Edward Erbacher, Mark Hochberg, Martha Baer, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Mary Silks and Keith Ellis.
Bill must bring brochures to next meeting.
There was a discussion about the harvesting costs of last summer which took us all by surprise. Mark Hochberg suggested we should be provided with an hourly rate for the cost of harvesting, loading and trucking. We should set a limit before the season begins on what the association is willing to pay.
Cathy Shyer said, “We aren’t asking for a witch hunt but a better understanding of how the system works and whether we can make it more efficient.”
Bill Littauer and Don Mayland will meet with Charlie Ouellette and Curtis Rand this spring to discuss the issues of better clarity of costs and a limit on expenses. Don will also discuss the issue of milfoil floaters with Charlie and the wind conditions that cause heavy concentrations of weed fragments to develop in certain areas.
Don will also ask Mark Bellaud of Aquatic Control Technology for his opinion on our harvesting operation and whether there is something we can do better to control the milfoil. ACT does the herbicide treatment on Twin Lakes and has conferred with the Town Grove Advisory Committee on how to make Factory Pond more appealing.
Mary Silks had volunteered at our annual meeting to investigate any new methods of weed control. Unfortunately, she reported, there is nothing new outside of herbicides. Mary suggested and the board approved asking the Connecticut Federation of Lakes to hold a meeting here. Various experts would then be available to hold a panel discussion for the general public on lake problems such as invasive weeds and other species.
Our Treasurer, James Marshall, has returned to England and may stay there. Until he tells us definitely what his plans are we do not have to replace him as a board member or treasurer. However, as a practical matter to keep the association functioning Bill Littauer and Cathy Shyer will take over the bookkeeping. Bill has set up a Quickbooks account for the lake association and built a data base for 2011, 2012 and 2013 using the checkbook, invoices, checks and bank statements that James left for us. We are working on getting authority to sign checks so we can pay the bills that will come up this year. We have no problem making deposits.
James has been our treasurer for a long time and has done a lot of work keeping meticulous records. We will certainly miss him if he decides not to return. We all owe him a huge amount of gratitude for doing a very necessary job that often goes with little thanks. “Having just gone through all our finances for the last two years and two months I can tell you his records were very complete and easy to follow,” Bill said.
Our next board meeting is scheduled for April 13th. Cathy Shyer suggested we discuss how to encourage property owners around the lake to plant more trees. She brought along photographs showing how many more trees there were around the lake years ago.
Edward Erbacher offered to call any lake property owners who are not members of the association and persuade them to join. Bill and Cathy will pull together a list for Edward to work on.
We will also have copies of our new brochure available.
Minutes of Annual Meeting
October 27, 2012
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Littauer at 9:35AM at the Town Grove Senior Center.
On a motion by Margaret Douglas-Hamilton and seconded by Rosemary Reidy and approved by a unanimous voice vote the members decided not to require a reading of the minutes of the last annual meeting.
On a motion by Margaret Douglas-Hamilton and seconded by Dean Haubrich and approved by a unanimous voice vote the number of Directors of The Association was set at 12.
A slate of proposed directors for the 2013 year was proposed by President Bill Littauer as follows: James Marshall, Edward Erbacher, Mark Hochberg, Martha Baer, Margaret Douglas-Hamilton, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Bill Littauer, Louise Hannegan, Dean Haubrich, Mary Silks and Keith Ellis.
On a motion by Gerald Reidy and seconded by Lorna Brodtkorb the members approved the slate of directors for 2013 by a unanimous voice vote.
There was discussion about the bill presented by Charles Ouellette of $21,505 for the second cut harvesting during the 2012 season.
Ben Zalman suggested bills should be submitted monthly or bi-weekly so the association would have a better grasp of the expenses as they are incurred. Edward Erbacher suggested the harvester crew should sign in at the Grove office each day. Lorna Brodtkorb asked what the hourly rate would be per harvester rather than just what the hourly rate is for the operators and for an explanation of the charges for week 8/13 of $5,562 and week 8/20 of $5,894.
A motion was made by Ben Zalman and seconded by Cathy Shyer to advise the harvesting contractor that the association will require billing on a bi-weekly basis, that there will be a cap on charges the association will accept and that approval of the board of directors will be required to exceed that cap each season. The motion was approved unanimously on a voice vote.
There were a number of comments about the effectiveness of the harvesting. Mary Silks said she would look in to any new developments in herbicide treatments. There was also some discussion of diver assisted suction harvesting.
Bill Littauer announced planned dates for 2013 as follows: Feb. 23rd Board Meeting, April 13th Board Meeting, May 18th Board Meeting, June 1st Spring Meeting, July 20th Board Meeting, August 17th Board Meeting, September 21st Board Meeting, October 26th Annual Meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:05AM
Lake Wononscopomuc Association
Board Meeting Sept. 22, 2012
The meeting was called to order at 9:35AM at Town Hall by President Bill Littauer. Board members attending were Edward Erbacher, Martha Baer, Cathy Shyer, Patricia Ranson, Louise Hannegan and Dean Haubrich. Since there are 15 members on the board and only seven were in attendance. There was no quorum.
However, there was a discussion about the annual meeting which will be scheduled for Saturday morning, October 27th at 9:30AM. Cathy Shyer will contact Hotchkiss to see if the boat house might be a good location. It has a great view of the lake and would enable the members to appreciate the difference between the wooded lots on the eastern side and the shoreline with limited trees on the western side.
There was also some discussion about trying to gather several pontoon boats for use after the spring meeting. That would enable us to have a discussion about barrier gardens, trees and other conservation measures followed by a tour around the lake to see what has been done.
Mary Silks is working on a new lake conservation booklet which should be ready by the spring meeting. The new brochure Mary developed has won enthusiastic praise. We will have copies at the annual meeting.
There were a couple of suggestions to make our board function more efficiently. The first is to schedule regular meetings during the year so members could plan for them. The second is to reduce the board in size to those members who show up regularly.
Two items from the Town Grove Advisory Committee meeting: 1. Something has to be done about Factory Pond. It is clogged with weeds and scum. Curtis says bulldozing it down to hard pan would cost several hundred thousand dollars because of the cost of transporting and dumping the excavated silt. 2. Stacey Dodge says the state DEEP requires a life jacket on any boaters under the age of 12 and at least a life jacket in the boat for adults. The Town Grove Advisory committee is working on a proposed town ordinance requiring life jackets.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:50AM