Submitted by Laura Bullock
Interest in the fate of Fawn Lake continues to run high, as concerned Bedfordites make their views known on the Facebook page for Fawn Lake, Bedford Springs MA which now has more than 200 “likes.”
Following the large turnout for the informational meeting with the Community Preservation Committee on May 3, organized by Laura Bullock and Beth Doyle, here is the current status: the town has allocated money for consultants who will present plans/options about the lake and the costs involved. Although no request for proposal (RFP) has yet been issued, it’s expected that one will go out within the next few weeks so that a consultant can be hired to do a study during the summer, an ideal time for assessing the lake’s condition, and come up with options. As Cathy Cordes, Community Preservation Commission, says, “Until we get the facts, we can’t take any action.”
Fawn Lake has been a town concern for many years. As Cordes points out, CPC funds were allocated in 2002 to consider options. Early on, a proposal to dredge the lake turned out to be exorbitant in cost – close to $1 million. Hydroraking with application of organic herbicide to control the lily pads is not inexpensive ($100,000) and needs to be done every two to three years. If the town were to do nothing, the lake would ultimately-over a long time span, perhaps 50 years- return to its natural state.
One of the current sore points concerns the recently-erected fence, which many find objectionable. The background of this is that the Department of Public Works came before the Conservation Commission on March 26 with a request for a “determination of applicability – Fawn Lake Fence.” If the intention was to keep geese off the lawn, as some Facebook writers have pointed out, this clearly is not working! A pair of geese and five tiny goslings were observed by this reporter on the morning of May 14, strolling across the greensward.
Facebook commenters have raised these points: Is runoff of fertilizer and chemicals that homeowners from the surrounding newer developments-Copeland, Donovan, Ellingson-apply to their lawns contributing to the eutrophication of the lake? Would organic fertilizers be less toxic, or are there better ways to apply fertilizers to lessen the amount washing away? One Facebook writer (John C. Mitchell) noted that switching to organic fertilizers will probably not make much difference to the lake. “Nitrogen is nitrogen, as far as plants are concerned, and the problem is less the fertilizer that goes on the lawn than the fertilizer that goes everywhere else.”
Another suggestion, from Greg Saltzman: “Sterile carp seem to be used elsewhere to control vegetation, perhaps it could be worthwhile to explore this option?”
Long-time Bedford residents know that the town has grappled with the Fawn Lake dilemma ever since acquiring the property from the Hayden Estate in 1978. Meantime, until the next study can be performed and a feasible (and affordable) outcome is proposed, townsfolk can only “wait and see.”
To read The Bedford Citizen’s story about the Saturday morning gathering at Fawn Lake: https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2014/05/03/residents-gather-to-express-support-for-fawn-lake-and-concerns-about-its-future/