Dear Friends of Lake Waramaug:
The beauty of our surroundings never fails to uplift my spirit. How fortunate are we all to enjoy the benefits of a clean, clear and swimmable lake.
We can’t thank you enough for all the support you have provided over the years to get us to this point.
As our long awaited spring arrives, I am happy to report that the state of the Lake is good.
We turned our four aerators on mid-May, and recent testing of the Lake’s oxygen and temperature documents our extensive in-lake aeration systems continue to improve water clarity. We are averaging 9 feet as of this writing.
The results from our annual testing for the presence of naturally occurring cyanobacteria in the Lake indicates it continues to decline year over year — as evidenced in the chart in our Clean Water Corner on page 4.
Even more satisfying, our spring invasive weed survey indicates our decision to bite the financial bullet and double down on our suction harvesting and hand pulling program was a success. Our efforts have kept the growth of Curlyleaf Pondweed at bay without the use herbicides. Our divers report populations have diminished where extensive pulling was concentrated.
We continue to work on our Zooplankton Farm — which releases millions of hungry, algae-eating microorganisms into the Lake each week. Our complimentary Water Quality Planning Assistance Program for landowners planning construction and landscaping projects near the lake is proving effective. Several property owners have installed some beautiful — and Lake beneficial — buffer plantings as a result. Others are now aware of the importance of keeping their catch basins clean. Our agreement is in place with Tanner Farm to end the farm’s dairy operation, which will minimize harmful Lake water pollution and nutrient runoff. The farm plans on converting to a hay operation.
Our Executive Director, Sean Hayden, continues to expand our community outreach. He and Kelsey Sudol, our summer research assistant, hosted several classes for the Warren Elementary School at our Zooplankton Farm. Sean will also be hosting an invasive weed identification seminar on June 28, and a State of the Lake talk at the Gunn Museum on August 9.
All this is good news. But this good news does not call for complacency. Development, erosion, a warming climate and toxic runoff present ever increasing challenges. As challenges mount, we must do more. Our costs have increased dramatically. In 2016, expenses in our three major programs: 1) in-lake systems, 2) invasive plant control, and 3) watershed programs have exceeded $230,000. In 2017, they exceeded $280,000. In 2018, we project operating expenses to hit $300,000.
Please contribute, and allow us to continue and intensify our lake saving programs.
Molly Butler Hart
Chair, Lake Waramaug Task Force