By Laura Bullock
Editor’s Note: A consulting contract to study Fawn Lake has not yet been awarded, according to a telephone interview with Adrienne St. John, Town Engineer on Friday, September 5. Two firms responded to the Request for Proposal; those responses are being evaluated now by St. John and by Elizabeth Bagdonas, Conservation Commission Administrator. It’s expected that they will make a recommendation to the Town Manager within a week. Since the amount involved is less than $25,000 , it is considered a requisition and does not need approval from the Selectmen. The Citizen will post full information as soon as it is available.
In September several consulting companies will be presenting to the town their findings and recommendations to keep Fawn Lake alive and vibrant. The aquatic plant growth is beginning to choke the lake and a plan of action is needed in order to keep the lake from eutrophying.
According to Wikipedia “eutrophication is the ecosystem response to the addition of artificial or natural substances, such as nitrates and phosphates, through fertilizers or sewage, to an aquatic system. Negative environmental effects include the depletion of oxygen in the water, which causes a reduction in specific fish and other animals. Other species may experience an increase in population that negatively affects other species… and generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay…” Those who frequent the lake have been witness to these changes first hand. Aquatic plants have covered a majority of the lake this year, and another fish kill occurred this past spring with many hundreds of fish dying from lack of oxygen in the lake. It is very evident that something needs to be done soon in order to keep the lake a beautiful and vibrant resource for all.
In 2008, the Conservation Commission contracted with Geosyntec Consultants (an environmental scientist and engineer firm from Acton, MA) to conduct a survey of any changes that had occurred at Fawn Lake after the hydroraking and herbicide treatments conducted in previous years. The consultants reported that there had been a significant increase in numbers of plants species inhabiting the lake as well as increased density. “The (previous) hydroraking program was clearly successful in restoring open water habitat zones” and the report recommended hydroraking every two to three years to maintain the water lily and surface plant growth. Also recommended was the use of a broad spectrum herbicide on an as-needed basis where the hydroraking cannot be done.
Recently, we noticed a man at the lake voluntarily raking up some of the ‘muck’ out of the water and he demonstrated how easily it could be done. The problem was, and is, what to do with all the muck after it’s been raked. Can it be used as fertilizer? Is it contaminated? Can the muck be contained in one area of the lake until it dries up, and then be carted off? Rumor has it that there are sections of the lake that were originally 8 – 10 feet deep. Over the years there has been such a buildup of sediment that you’d be hard pressed to find an area that is more than 3 feetdeep anymore. The lake is becoming shallower as the vegetation flourishes.
What are the solutions and what are the costs involved? We look forward to the consultant reports and hearing their recommendations. In the meantime, how can we help protect the lake? Excess nutrients enter the lake via storm water which greatly contributes to the overgrowth of the vegetation. Runoff from watering lawns, washing cars, and improper cleaning of painting supplies sends these chemicals into storm drains that lead to the lake. Aerating the lawn spring and fall will help control the weed growth. Other ways to help: use a pest resistant grass seed after aeration; use organic fertilizers; and water the lawn only when neededPlease look for the Friends of Fawn Lake booth at Bedford Day. We will be touting our first annual Fall Festival at the Lake – FAWNSTOCK. Fawnstock, 2 Hours of Nature and Music, will be held on September 28 from 2-4 pm at the lake and will feature several local bands, walking tours, a history lesson about the lake and the historic surrounding structures, and much more. Watch for articles in the Citizen and check our Facebook page Fawn Lake Bedford Springs for updates and more information!! You can also follow us on Instagram at friendsoffawnlake.