Vegetation Returns to Part of Fawn Lake’s Surface – As Expected

Lake with lily pads and trees around
Vegetation blooms on Fawn Lake, September 2022. Image The Bedford Citizen (c) all rights reserved


Aquatic vegetation has returned to cover much of the surface of Fawn Lake.


And according to the town’s conservation administrator, that’s not a surprise, irrespective of the 2020 dredging of the lake floor.


“What is seen on the lake now is what would be expected, given the project and other prevailing conditions over the last couple of years,” said Jeffrey Summers this week in an email. “While the expectation was that we would have more open water than what we see now, unfortunately when trying to manage the environment the end results of any project can be hard to predict.”

Lake covered in water lilies
Water lilies have returned as expected to Fawn Lake, September 2022. Image The Bedford Citizen (c) all rights reserved

Summers explained, “The initial project was to dredge 60 percent of the lake to remove accumulated sediment and the rhizomes of aquatic vegetation such as water lilies. This was to open up a portion of the lake surface for recreational use such as paddling.” 


“The reason for leaving 40 percent of the lake untouched was to allow for a more diverse ecology within the lake,” he continued. “A shallow lake environment wants to grow things within it, whether in the form of plant vegetation from the bottom or in the form of algae and other micro species such as duckweed and watermeal.”


During the dredging process, Summers pointed out, “a shelf on the lake bottom was discovered. This runs generally north to south in the middle of the lake and because of the shallower water here, light can more easily penetrate to the bottom and propagate vegetation growth in the area.”


“Water lilies and some water shield were noted in this area and the DPW is likely going to propose a targeted treatment of aquatic herbicide next spring to help keep this growth at bay.” 


“These are small flowering plants which float about in the water and sometimes give the appearance of an algae bloom when they are densely packed. One or the other is usually what is observed within a typical shallow lake and the latter are common in late summer.”


Summers noted that “another factor contributing to the growth of water lilies is this summer’s drought, where lower water levels again allowed for easier light penetration to the lake bottom.” 

Frog on a lily pad
Fawn Lake resident enjoying the vegetation. September 2022. Image The Bedford Citizen (c) all rights reserved

The dredging took place before Summers joined the municipal staff. He said he gleaned background information from Adrienne St. John, retired DPW engineer, and Bob Hartzel from the project’s technical consultants, CEI. Both were closely involved with the project.


“Part of the project was also to facilitate dam and drainage improvements on the Springs Road side of the lake,” Summers mentioned.

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John Goding
John Goding
2 months ago

I have suggested to the town that the use of an inexpensive, non-toxic (safe for people, wildlife, and plants) be evaluated. The colorant filters the sunlight to help eliminate aquatic growth. I have seen this technique used successfully at a small pond in Vermont.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Goding
Robert Kalantari
Robert Kalantari
2 months ago

I have lived near Fawn lake for over 25 years. I have seen dredging the lake many times, once every few years. This time, it lasted only 2 years. Obviously what we have done has not worked and it looks like it is getting worse. I am not an expert in vegetarian control and lake invasive plant management, but one thing I know is that you can’t fight the nature, and in this case, maybe the best option is to leave the nature alone for a while and see what it will do without intervention.

Walter St. Onge
Walter St. Onge
2 months ago

I agree with Mr. Kalantari. We’ve spent millions of dollars on Fawn Lake and have nothing to show for it except millions of dollars out the door – dollars that could have been far better spent on other things. We seem forever trying to control nature instead of just living with it. I hope we learn our lesson the next time dredging is proposed.

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