LWTF Takes on Sucker Brook Erosion

Left: At the mouth of Sucker Brook, geese gather on the expanding delta caused by soil erosion upstream.  Right: Above: One of the LWTF's completed soil erosion prevention projects on Sucker Brook in Warren.

The Lake Waramaug Task Force has begun an ambitious and complex project to lessen the amount of silt that washes into the lake from several erosion sites along Sucker Brook.

Sucker Brook is a scenic stream that meanders through the Warren woods and farmlands and provides Lake Waramaug with an estimated 50% of its water inflow. Depending on weather conditions, it can be characterized as a trickle or a torrent. Over the years, several sites have developed where the stream curves that have washed away much of the soil bank, undermining trees (and, in one location, State Route 45) and depositing tons of silt into the lake.

The resulting delta that has been created in the lake has a damaging effect on water quality and aquatic life since it blocks the entry of cool water into the lake and disturbs the delicate thermal stratification that keeps harmful nutrients in the lower depths. The delta is also a safety concern for boaters. It continues to grow in size and is especially prominent during low-water periods such as we are experiencing now. Attempts to remove the silt have been deemed impractical until the upstream source of the problem is addressed.

The process involves taking huge boulders, most excavated locally, and positioning them over heavy polyethylene fabric to prevent the water flow from washing away soil. With the cooperation and help of land owners along the brook, the Task Force has identified the most critical of the erosion sites and has completed the shoring up of the first two sites. Work on additional sites will continue this fall.