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  • Draft Wetlands Bylaw

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

     

    Attached please find a draft copy of the recently revised Town Of Groton Wetland bylaws. Please review this document carefully and get back to me with any comments that you might have.

     

    Note that the Town of Groton Wetlands Bylaw Review Committee has been working on these bylaws for the past 18 months. Alex Woodle is on the committee and I have been attending the meetings for the past several months. I was not comfortable with the changes that were being proposed originally and lobbied for changes that are more friendly for lake residents (and other Groton residents who happen to have property adjacent to wetlands). My and Alex’s requested changes and edits are now contained in the attached draft proposal that has been approved by this committee.

     

    Pay particular attention to Section 215- 3B and 215-7 plus the definitions in the back of the document. These sections were carefully reworded to allow lake shore residences some latitude in doing work on their existing homes, associated appurtenances and land.

     

    I support the changes that are now contained in this draft and hope that you will as well.

     

    Art

    Town of Groton Wetland Bylaws


  • VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION: Timing of Lowering Water Level & Removing Boards in the Dam? UPDATE!!!

    Dear Friends & Neighbor,

    Last Monday I sent the email shown below to my master email list regarding a question as to whether we should keep water level at the Summer pool level for two additional weeks to make up for the two to three weeks that we lost in April because of the plans to treat the lake with Sonar. I received about sixty responses from lake shore residents. Most supported (~95%) not taking the boards out until October 28th (instead of Columbus Day October 14th) but just a few did not because they wanted to work on their shoreline or on their docks.

    After discussing this with several of the lake shore residents and folks at the Town Hall, we decided to leave the boards in the dam for one additional week instead of two additional weeks. Thus we plan to start taking the boards out of the dam on Monday October 21st. According to John Diezemann who lives next to the dam and has been involved in controlling the water level for years it will take 3 maybe 4 weeks for the water level  to drop 30 inches to the Winter water level. This will still give sufficient time to those who want to work on their shoreline and docks and will also allow time for the work that is planned for restoring Sargisson Beach.

    I hope that is decision satisfies everyone.

    Regards, Art

     

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

     

    Because we didn’t place the boards in the dam until April 24th this yearinstead of around April 1st  there is a request from some lake residents that we leave the boards in the dam for about  two extra weeks this year so that we can extend the boating season.

     

    Normally we begin to lower the water level by removing the boards in the dam one at a time starting on Columbus Day (October 14th this year). This would mean that we would take the first board out on or about October 28th and the water would be at the Winter level around Thanksgiving.

     

    I need to hear from you as to whether you support this or not. My concern is that some lake shore residents might be planning to work on their docks or shoreline once the water is down and by waiting two extra weeks we would be shortening the length of time that you have to work on them.

     

    Please let me know if you support this or not.

     

    Thanks, Art

     

    Art Prest

    President, Groton Lakes Association

    8 Weymisset Road

    Groton, MA 01450

    Email: prest@prest.biz


  • Article About Lost lake & Knops Pond Restoration in Groton Herald

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    In case you didn’t see it there was a GREAT article in last week’s Groton Herald about the GLA efforts to kill the weeds in Lost Lake & Knops Pond and about our plans to work on other aspects needed to keep the weeds out of the lakes and solve storm water runoff and erosion problems.

    The link for the story is below:

    Dramatic Success of Lost Lake Restoration Project
    http://www.grotonherald.com/main

    Regards, Art

    Art Prest
    President, Groton Lakes Association


  • Grotonfest

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    Just a note to remind you that Grotonfest is being held in Groton on this Saturday September 21st from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The GLA has a booth (booth 122 I was told) and we look forward to seeing you.

    For more information see: http://www.grotonfest.com/

    Art

    Art Prest
    President, Groton Lakes Association
    8 Weymisset Road
    Groton, MA 01450
    Email: prest@prest.biz
    Telephone: 978-448-2384
    FAX:         978-448-2387
    Mobile:      240-401-5240
    Skype-In:  978-877-4543


  • This is no fish story!!!!

    Robbie Postell with large mouth bass 20130810_144607 (3)

    One of the benefits of being a volunteer Weed Watcher Monitor at the boat launches is that you get to talk with fishermen who are coming in droves to fish our lakes and ponds.

    I have been making a point of asking them “How’s the fishing and what did you catch and how big was it?” Well one of them answered me: “First of all understand that because I am a fisherman I lie!”

    Well one them (Robbie Postell) sent me a picture of a largemouth bass that he caught yesterday and it ain’t no lie. I attached his picture.

    I have heard other fishermen tell me about 7.5 pound largemouth bass and 24 inch pickerel and maybe they lied but maybe not. Anyway us Weed Watcher Monitors are hearing wonderful reports about how great the fishing is this year and rave reviews about the lack of weeds in Lost Lake & Knops Pond.

    Enjoy, Art

    PS, Become a volunteer Weed Watcher Monitor at the boat launch – it is a lot of fun and you get to meet a lot of wonderful people.

    Art Prest
    President, Groton Lakes Association


  • New “Weed” in Knops Pond & Lost Lake – Not To Worry and Don’t Freak Out

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    We are seeing quite a bit of a new “weed” in Knops Pond and Lost Lake. It is low lying and mostly along the shore. It is bright green and can form dense matts or can be individual plants. I attached a picture of a single plant that I took today after untangling a mat of it that I pulled from Knops Pond.

    Using the handy dandy DCR “A Guide to Aquatic Plants in Massachusetts” I tried identifying it based on its characteristics which are:
    Submerged, Leaves On a Stem, Dissected Leaves, Leaves Without Bladders, Whorled Leaves (12 to 14 leaves in whorl), Branching

    I identified it as Chara and my conclusion was confirmed by the Tom Flannery from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation and Erika Haug from Aquatic Control Technology as  Chara (Muskgrass) which is a stonewart and not a plant but an algae. I pasted a drawing of Chara below.

    What you might see are the mats of Chara on the bottom that look different than the picture of the single plant that I attached .
    The good news is that it is not a non-native invasive weed and it is beneficial in moderation to the lake in that it consumes nutrients and helps prevent the regrowth of invasive weeds.

    Thanks, Art

    New Weed in Lost Lake & Knops Pond after Sonar treatment


  • Please Look for Floating Logs & Branches in the Water and Tow Them In

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    While water skiing yesterday, Angela Garger hit a large partially submerged log that was floating in the lake. She damaged her slalom ski but she is OK. Her husband towed the log to shore. When I was out in my boat on Tuesday I pulled a white birch branch that was about two inches in diameter and eight feet long out of Knops Pond. The branch showed beaver damage at its base.

    If you see large items floating in the lake please tow it to shore or if you can’t please let me know about it. And if you cut up a downed tree please make sure the log sections aren’t free to float into the lake. I must thank Joe Ferguson for recently removing some of these. If you want to see how big some of these floating logs are please stop by the public boat launch and look at the one stuck in the mud on the left side of the boat ramp. We haven’t quite figured out how to get it out of the water.

    The water level is back to standard pool level and flowing over the top board in the dam. There are a lot of dead weeds floating on the surface as a result of the Sonar treatment killing off the invasive weeds and the water is somewhat murky because of the heavy rains and the fact that the weeds are decaying. There are also a few mud flats where Lily pads have pulled their tubers (i.e., their roots) out of the bottom.  You might also see some floating Lily pad tubers  that are a few inches in diameter. I pulled one out at the end of my dock and it was the size of a human arm.  I had heard that Lily pad tubers were large but I had no idea that they were that large.

    So all-in-all what we expected to happen is happening. We predicted this in  Alex Woodle’s March 2013 newsletter.

    Here is the excerpt from that newsletter:
    “Post Treatment:
    As mentioned above, early treatment has its advantages.  Another major advantage is treating the weeds before they have grown too much.  The Sonar attacks roots of the plants and as such we expect that as the treatment progresses, there may appear floating biomasses of weeds in heavily infested areas.  Lily pad plants will also be effected (they usually recover in subsequent seasons) and their root tubers are large and may float to surface with mud.  These “rafts” of weeds may look like “islands” are being created, but we hope to remove some of this biomass with the harvester.  If we are successful it will reduce biomass and nutrients released by the decaying plants.  The uncollected weeds will eventually sink to the bottom.
    Please do not freak out if you see mud flats rising to the surface – they will eventually sink to the bottom as the weeds die off.”

    We have decided not to use the harvester since it is being used in Baddacook Pond and we are concerned that paddle wheels might create weed fragments of a few weeds that are not totally dead and these fragments could reseed themselves.

    Regards,  Art


  • Great Boston Globe article

    Dear Friends & Neighbors,

    In today’s Boston Globe there is a terrific article that I attached and is reproduced below. It describes the kind of thing that we have been going through and quotes Tom Flannery from the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation who has been very helpful to us and taught the Weed Watcher Course here in Groton for GLA members. It is a long article but worthwhile reading.

    I also attached two pictures that show the progress of the Sonar herbicide treatment. One picture was taken in Knops Pond in June of 2012 before the Sonar treatment and the other picture shows the same area on Knops pond taken in July of 2013 after the third Sonar treatment. The results are amazing but we still have a long way to go and must keep working at restoring our lakes.

    By the way, if you haven’t re-upped your GLA membership for 2013-2014 either on-line or with the direct mail that went out about two weeks ago please do so. We need your support and will need funds to continue to restore our lakes and ponds.

    Groton Lakes Association (GLA) 2013 Membership Drive
     










    Regards,  Art

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Battling invasive weeds on area waterways
    By Johanna Seltz
    Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe
    Top of Form
    Bottom of Form
    You can rip them out, poison them, vacuum them up, or smother them with sheets of plastic, but the chances of eradicating the exotic plants that are invading the region’s ponds and lakes are slim, according to environmental officials.
    “Once they are in your lake, you are very unlikely to get rid of them,” said Anne Carroll, director of the Office of Water Resources in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. “You just have to deal with them — like mowing your lawn.”
    About a third of the approximately 3,000 freshwater lakes and ponds in the state are affected, according to Tom Flannery, who runs the department’s Weed Watchers program that trains people to spot and report invasive freshwater plants.
    Lake Cochituate, which spreads across Natick, Wayland, and Framingham, is battling milfoil. Whitehall Reservoir in Hopkinton is covered with fanwort and milfoil. And parts of the Charles River’s lakes district — between Newton and Waltham — are so choked with water chestnut that the fanwort weeds underneath are barely visible.
    Related
    “These invasives are called invasives for a reason,” Flannery said. “You can take a crystal-clear water body and introduce’’ an invasive plant, he said, “and literally the entire lake is covered top to bottom with weeds. You can’t fish, you can’t boat, you can’t swim, the wildlife suffers.’’
    How long the process takes can vary, Flannery said, “depending on things like lake chemistry and depth, but I’ve seen a lake go from zero to 40 acres in one growing season.”
    That does not mean it is time to give up the fight, though, both Carroll and Flannery said.
    “It still makes sense to find things early and have a chance to save the lake,” Flannery said. “Even if you have a lake chock full of invasives, you haven’t lost the battle. The key is management. You have to work at it year after year — and spend a lot of money.”
    He said the state spends about $500,000 annually on the battle, and municipalities and private associations spend about $1.5 million more. The state’s budget for the current fiscal year earmarks another $700,000 , Carroll said.
    While Flannery said the figure is not close to what is needed, both he and Carroll are encouraged by a new state law that requires the Department of Conservation and Recreation to write rules to combat the spread of invasive species, and impose penalties for those who fail to comply. The regulations should be finished by the end of the summer, and will focus on requiring people to clean their boats, Carroll said.
    “It’s pretty basic,” she said. “When you come out of a lake with invasives, look at your boat, at the motor, props, the trailer. A quick visual check should take care of it. Or run it through a car wash, or let it dry. We also ask people to empty out anything they filled with pond water and dump it on the ground far enough away that it won’t get back in.
    “It’s not onerous, and it is now the law,” Carroll said. “There certainly are people out there who feel fatalistic about this problem, but we’re not. . .  I think we’re keeping up.”
    One source of optimism is Natick’s Fiske Pond , which flows into Lake Cochituate, she said.
    In 2008, the shallow 67-acre pond was completely overrun with invasive plants, but especially with water chestnut, according to Flannery. The plant forms thick, fluffy green mats on top of freshwater bodies and chokes out all other vegetation. In a single season, an acre of water chestnut can produce enough seeds to cover 100 acres of water the following year.
    But water chestnut also is relatively easy to yank up, and the state has spent close to $500,000 since 2008 on a removal program that not only has cleared Fiske Pond, but, more importantly, protected the more widely used Lake Cochituate, Flannery said. He said the amount of water chestnut taken from the pond went from 225 tons the first year to only about “a dumpster load” this summer.
    “It’s a pretty good success story,” he said. “We started with big mechanical harvesters and we are now at a point where we are able to control it with just volunteers hand-pulling from kayaks.”
    By contrast, Whitehall Reservoir, a 575-acre pond in Hopkinton, is completely taken over by fanwort and milfoil, Flannery said.
    “In the spring and early in the summer it’s boatable,” he said, “and with a canoe or a kayak there are still a few little channels where you can sneak through the weeds. But right now, most fishermen give up on that lake.”
    No one has given up on the lakes district of the Charles River, where scores of volunteers meet regularly at the dock of Charles River Canoe and Kayak in Newton for forays to pull up water chestnut. The weed, which covers about 50 acres of water between the Moody Street Dam in Waltham and Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, impedes recreation and kills fish and native vegetation, according to Julie Wood, a scientist with the Charles River Watershed Association .
    “Our main goal is to keep recreational access open and to keep this infestation contained,” Wood said. “From what we can tell, the spread is not getting too far ahead of us, and we may even be making some headway on reducing the overall amount of cover.”
    She said her organization has raised about $20,000, and asked the state to help fund a more aggressive program using mechanical harvesters.
    Various approaches have been used to fight the invasive weeds in Lake Cochituate, which comprises three ponds — South, Middle, and North — and covers more than 600 acres. The state found milfoil in South Pond about 10 years ago, and proposed a herbicide treatment there and in Middle Pond, but Natick opposed the plan for fear the chemical would contaminate nearby wells, according to the DCR’s Carroll.
    Herbicides were used, however, in North Pond in Wayland and “it was stunningly successful,” she said. “All the native plants were still there and the fish, but every scrap of milfoil was gone.”
    Meanwhile, the state worked with Natick and local environmental groups on a nonchemical approach in Cochituate’s Middle and South ponds, hiring divers to suction up the weed with an underwater vacuum in a 5-acre area around the state beach and boat ramp. The work was expensive and so slow, Carroll said, that by the time an acre of weeds was cleared, another acre had grown in its place.
    “We did it for two years and found we were just treading water, so this year we allowed chemical treatment in that location and it’s been very successful,” said Natick’s conservation agent, Bob Bois.
    He said numerous groups also pooled money to buy benthic matting to lay on the lake bottom and smother the milfoil plants, which worked, but only in small areas.
    “I think we’ve got to the point where even though these other options work, they’re not long term,” Bois said. “We need to rethink the overall weed management plan for the lake.”
    “The problem is quite prevalent in lakes and ponds all over the state,” Carroll said, adding that steps to educate the public about the invasive plants are essential.
    Another priority is to make sure that the weeds stay out of uncontaminated waterways — such as Walden Pond in Concord.
    “Some are pristine, and it’s our priority to keep them that way,” she said.
    Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@ gmail.com.

    Tips on preventing the spread of invasive weeds
    By Johanna Selz


  • Boat Launches Monitor program

    Trailer at Baddacook edited

     

    Dear Friends and Neighbors,

    We have launched a program to monitor the boat launches at both Lost Lake/Knops Pond and Baddacook Pond. We need volunteers to be at the boat launches to hand out literature to boaters, explain what the program is all about, and in conjunction with the boater fill out a survey form and in conjunction with the boater inspect the boat and trailer and remove all weeds that might be present. This MUST be done according to a new Massachusetts law  before the boat can be launched, and again once the boat comes out of the water.

    We have enlisted a few people vis-à-vis the Groton Senior Program where Groton Resident Seniors can qualify for up to $500 property tax abatements (note that if you had not signed up for this for 2013 you must wait until October to sign up for next year). However we need volunteers to help fill out a schedule so that we can properly monitor the boats coming and going from the lakes/ponds.

    We have put a lot of time, effort and money into killing the weeds and the last thing we need is to have weeds reintroduced to the lakes and ponds on boats and trailers.

    We all need to participate in this effort. We need folks to step up and offer to spend a few hours a week to monitor the boat launches.

    Erich Garger’s daughter Brooke is coordinating this program on behalf of the Town of Groton and the Groton Lakes Association. Please contact her at (603) 809-8194 or at bny22@unh.edu   to volunteer your time.

    I attached a picture that Jim Luening took of a weed covered trailer that was parked at Baddacook Pond last week. The boater was somewhere out on Baddacook Pond and the boater owner probably left with the weeds still attached to contaminate another lake.  Can you imagine if that boat & trailer got back into Lost Lake/Knops Pond what might happen?

    Art


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