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LWTF News Archives: Winter 2006/07

Curlyleaf Pondweed Eradication and Control | Annual Ecosystem Report | State DEP Agreement & Washington Boat Launch | State Aquatic Control Program Needed | Director's Report

Curlyleaf Pondweed Eradication and Control

Curlyleaf Pondweed, an aggressive, non-native aquatic plant with the potential to cause serious damage to the lake, was discovered in June of 2006 at locations along the east side of Arrow Point and near the Lake Waramaug State Park. For more background, see the Special Report.

The Task Force has been diligently researching alternative methods for dealing with this threat. The two most likely strategies are: 1) A careful and well-monitored application of the herbicide Aquathol to the larger areas of infestation, and 2) The use of a filter fabric (benthic barrier) to cover and eradicate smaller areas of infestation.

A combination of the two methods, with a thorough post-analysis to measure their relative safety and cost-effectiveness, is also a possibility. In addition, hand-pulling of the plant in small areas will be utilized.

The unusual growth cycle of Curlyleaf Pondweed (it can actually begin growing under the ice in winter) gives the plant a competitive advantage over native plants. Consequently, the Task Force will be monitoring the situation in early spring and implementing eradication strategies in April.

For more details on this and other subjects, see Tom McGowan's Executive Director's Report, below.

Annual Summary Report from Ecosystem Consulting Service

The Task Force has received the annual Summary report for 2006 from Dr. Robert W. Kortmann and Christopher Mayne of Ecosystem Consulting Service, Inc.

Not surprisingly, the lake receives mixed reviews for the year, as stated below:

The report points primarily to aberrant weather patterns which "seem to be becoming the norm". Mild winters with little or no ice cover, periods of intense heat during the summer, periods of very heavy rain and an unusually warm September/October are the recent patterns that appear to promote algae growth.

In addition, there has been a marked increase in the population of large alewives, which reduce zooplankton which, in turn, limit algae growth.

Recommendations for 2007 include alewife management plans (already begun with a recent stocking of larger fish), maintenance of the Arrow Point Treatment system and optimization (and perhaps expansion) of the Layer Aeration systems along Route 45.

For full details, you can download a PDF of the 2006 Summary Report.

State DEP Agreement and Washington Boat Launch

On Monday, January 22, 2007, the Zoning Commission of the Town of Washington approved plans for the Washington Boat Launch. This action completes the land use approvals phase of the project, the most important feature of the three-town agreement with the state to insure proper regulation and inspection of boats entering the lake.

The Task Force, along with the Lake Waramaug Association and other groups, has worked aggressively in support of the plan for years, considering it critical to the long-term ecological health of the lake.

The Task Force would like to thank all of the environmental groups, volunteers, public officials and scientists who continue to support this crucial project.

"Ounce of Prevention": The Need for a State Aquatic Control Program

It is illegal in Connecticut to sell or transport non-native, invasive aquatic plants that can infest and seriously damage our state's lakes. That's the good news.

Unfortunately, there is little or no enforcement of the laws or even a program for educating the public and the nursery industry about the threat. Meanwhile, invasive plants continue to deepen their hold and new, more aggressive species such as Hydrilla are being introduced.

Connecticut lakes are in immediate need of a state program to slow the spread of these weeds, and the Connecticut Invasive Plant Council (of which Tom McGowan, Executive Director of the Task Force is a member) has a proposal before the state legislature.

It's Bill Number 282 introduced by our State Senator Andrew Roraback and State Representative Clark Chapin and it needs the vigorous support of all who are concerned about the health of our lakes. This bill calls for an appropriation of $500,000 to establish a position of Invasive Plant Coordinator in the State Department of Environmental Protection, to create a fund for "rapid response" to new invasive plant threats, funds for inspectors from the DEP and Dept of Agriculture who will visit nurseries, plant and pet stores to prevent sales of invasive plants, and grant funds for towns and non profit organizations who need it to control the spread of invasive plants

Neighboring New England states have acknowledged the problem and created effective programs, proving that the costs pay for themselves many times over by avoiding later eradication expenses.

You can download a PDF of the State's Invasive Plants Council 2006 Annual Report for more details.

Lake Waramaug Task Force, Inc. Executive Director's Report - January 23, 2007

1. Lake Waramaug Boat Launch Plan. The Town's plan for renovation of the boat launch (and continuation of the invasive weed boat inspection program) has been approved by the Inland Wetland Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals (granting a variance to exceed the maximum coverage allowed - allowance is 15% for this site, existing is 26%, proposed is 35% and future needed may be as much as 43%). It has been reviewed by the Town Planning Commission which issued a favorable report, and has just been approved for a Special Permit by the Zoning Commission. We are pleased that this phase of the project can now proceed; it has been 11 years in the making.

Dr. Kortmann testified before the Inland Wetland Commission on behalf of the Task Force comparing the town launch improvement plan to the State's plan for a major boat launch at the State Park. He made this comparison under the "prudent alternative" assessment requirement of the Inland Wetland Regulations. I have attended and presented on behalf of the Task Force at both the Inland Wetland public hearing and the ZBA public hearing, and also testified at the Zoning Commission hearing.

At this time we do not have certainty regarding operation of our compressor (to run our two LayerAir Systems) during the time of the construction of the launch and for the long term. Under the current plan we are relying on the Town constructing another building to house among other things our compressor. But that proposal is yet to be developed and may take a long time to gain approval. First Selectman Sears is examining alternatives that will permit the compressor to continue to operate during and after construction.

2. Curlyleaf Pondweed Action Plan. The application to the State DEP for a permit to apply Aquathol to eradicate curlyleaf has been completed by ACT, signed by myself on behalf of the Task Force and submitted to the DEP.

We have been gathering as much information as possible on the effects of Aquathol for the benefit of Arrowpoint residents. A US Corp of Engineer study and other studies show no adverse impacts on well drinking water. But we may need to test nearby wells before and after to provide the assurance that residents are seeking. Hydrotechnologies is examining the DEP application and may be able to provide a "risk assessment" for residents.

We continue to examine the possibility of using filter fabric to cover the affected area at Arrowpoint as an alternative to the use of Aquathol but we are not getting bidders to respond to this proposal. Bob Kortmann has suggested considering using a mini dredging system which can be purchased for about $9,000. We are looking into that as well.

We will need to decide on the best approach and get on the agenda of the local inland wetland commissions in February or March to explain our plan. We do not need a permit for Aquathol treatment from the inland wetland commissions but may need a permit for use of the filter fabric.

I have asked Dr. George Knoecklin to reserve time to assist ACT in completing the early spring survey to document the location of the curlyleaf pondweed beds at Arrowpoint, the State Park and the North Shore Road shoreline.

3. ECS Annual 2006 Report. Dr. Kortmann's annual report presents a number of new recommendations for our consideration for 2007. I will review this report and provide highlights at the meeting.

Dr. Kortmann will attend the February meeting of the Board to review and discuss his findings and recommendations. (Note: you can review the mini dredge equipment that he recommends for our consideration near the end of the report. This is the same piece of equipment that he suggests we consider using to eradicate the curlyleaf pondweed.)

4. Invasive Plant Program. I presented the results of the invasive plant survey and report completed with the research assistance of Jamie Hicks to the State Invasive Plant Council and to State legislators at the December meeting of the Invasive Plant Council. A copy of that report is on file.

Sen. Andrew Roraback, Rep. Clark Chapin and others have sponsored a bill to provide funding for a State Invasive Plant coordinator. Rep. Roberta Willis has voiced her support. A hearing will be held some time in February in Hartford. Citizens need to continue to voice support for this bill with our legislators. It would be nice to see all our area legislators supporting this initiative including Rep. Craig Minor who represents Warren who is also on the Environment Committee.

5. Shoreline Development Reviews. At the request of the Washington Beach Club site I met with Club members and their engineer at the Club site and discussed their plan to expand their parking lot.

They propose to fill a swale between the Warren town beach parking lot and the Club's parking lot to provide for additional on-site parking needs. Currently Club members are parking along the narrow private road to the Club when their small parking lot is full.

This swale is a regulated inland wetland. They propose to use a subsurface porous paver for the base of the parking lot and cover this with gravel and soil and grass to allow for infiltration. I pointed out issues that will need to be addressed as they develop a detailed site plan including: projecting the future potential development impact within the sub-watershed, determining if this meets the town zoning regulation maximum impervious surface limits, providing a pre- and post-rain garden type of catchment and filtration system to improve filtering and treatment of the water into and out of the new parking area, etc. We will review the final plan when it is available.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas A.J. McGowan, Executive Director

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