Zooplankton Project Awarded

(Above) Robert Nicholas (left), president of the Harcourt Foundation, presents the grant check to LWTF Chair Molly Hart & Exec.Director Tom McGowan.

Harcourt Foundation Grant

A cutting-edge LWTF plan to stimulate the growth of Zooplankton in Lake Waramaug has been awarded a $7,500 grant by the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Foundation based in New Milford, CT. The experimental project, which could result in significant benefits to water quality and clarity for lakes everywhere, was brought to the Task Force by its chief limnologist, Dr. Robert Kortmann. The idea emerged from discussions that evolved after the Task Force's land-based Hypolymnetic Withdrawal System on Arrow Point was retired in May 2015 in favor of two new in-lake Layer Aeration systems. The old structure consisted of a large concrete basin with four chambers that aerated water before returning it to the lake. Dr. Kortmann determined that the facility provided a unique opportunity to experiment with the cultivation of zooplankton, tiny organisms that feed on algae and are therefore beneficial to water quality.

(Another LWTF initiative, the stocking of the lake with brown trout, also benefits zooplankton by reducing the population of their predator, alewives.)

The LWTF Executive Director Tom McGowan and board member Dan Scherr produced a grant application stressing the innovative nature of the plan and the potential for broader application if successful. The Harcourt Foundation responded quickly with the grant and its president, Bob Nicholas, delivered a check personally to the LWTF Board on January 25. The grant will offset the planning and initial development costs to modify the Arrow Point basin.